Yahya Jammeh, one of the most violently homophobic people in power in the world, has lost the presidential election.
Gambia’s long-time ruler, who has been the president for 22 years, may finally concede power to opposition leader Adama Barrow.
Adama received 263,515 votes while Jammeh won 212,099, Alieu Momarr Njai, the electoral commission head, announced in the capital Banjul on Friday.
‘I hereby declare Adama Barrow duly elected to serve as president of the Republic of Gambia,’ Njai said.
Jammeh has repeatedly threatened to have any gay person murdered in Gambia, often threatening to ‘slit throats’ and has referred to LGBTI people as ‘vermin’, ‘anti-God’, and ‘anti-human’.
‘All empires before collapsed not at the time they were weakest, but at the peak of their might and when they equated themselves with the Almighty Allah,’ he said in 2015.
‘So this evil empire of homosexuals will also go down the dirty drain and garbage of hell.’
In 2014, the Gambian president signed a law that jailed anyone convicted of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ – such as being accused twice of the crime – would face life in prison. Dozens of people were reportedly subsequently arrested.
He also said how you could ‘cure’ AIDS with herbs and bananas. During a 2013 speech at the UN, he described homosexuality as the ‘biggest threat to human existence’.
Gay rights activists have applauded the defeat of one of the most powerful homophobes.
‘This is a good thing for equality and diversity for LGBTI Gambians and the world at large,’ Edwin Sesange, director of the LGBTI African group Out and Proud Diamond.
‘His views, policies and actions towards the LGBTI were venomous.
‘We hope the new leader will be a president for all people. We appeal to the new leader to strike down the anti-gay laws and sentiments that were prepared for Yahya Jammeh’.