Jean-Jacques Cornish

Head of Gambia’s electoral body goes into hiding

Gambia’s Electoral Commission Chairman, Alieu Momar Njai has fled the country because he received threats after declaring President Yahya Jammeh the loser of a December 1 election.

President Jammeh initially accepted defeat, but then changed his mind and is now refusing to step down.

Gambian security forces took over the headquarters of the electoral commission shortly President Yayha Jammeh’s about turn.

Alieu Momar Njai’s son won’t confirm his father has left the country.

He says he hopes and prays his father is in safe hands.

Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia for 22 years, has begun a crackdown to back his decision to deny property developer Adama Barrow the victory he achieved on December 1.

Three private radio stations have been taken off air since Sunday.

The West African regional bloc Ecowas, which has been leading diplomatic efforts to move Jammeh, has threatened sanctions and military action if he does not step down.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.