In the coming weeks of the presidential election in Gambia, President Jammeh had called for a peaceful election claiming to focus on peace and security, not violence. While there is concern that his view may change now that he has lost the election, this announcement gave some promise. It can be assumed that anyone who has been in power for years (since 1994) and is now losing that power will be upset by this. Hopefully, former President Jammeh will be a man of his word when it comes to this matter and will be peaceful in passing on his power to a successor.
He would not gain anything by refusing to step down, except for a violent coup. He will not be able to retain the presidency if he lost it in an election. Even though Gambia has a history of violent transitions, they are trying to change thier ways and be less violent.
The longtime ruler has woven a shroud of mysticism around himself using religion and rumors of secret powers. Never seen without his Koran, scepter and prayer beads, Jammeh’s billowing white robes are rumored to hide a bulletproof vest, the legacy of several coup attempts by his own guards. In the last few years, a crackdown on journalists, opposition figures and anyone deemed disloyal within the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), has intensified. He has promised to bury critics “nine feet deep” and told the UN Secretary-General to “go to hell” after Ban Ki-moon called for an investigation into an activist’s death in custody. The security forces are his tools, and he uses them to control Gambia by arresting people who don’t share his views.
Jammeh had taken power as part of a military coup to overthrow the previous official. What is to say that he won't do that this time? Though he did lose democratically, there is not assurance that he will relinquish the power that he had maintained for half of his life.