Gambia’s dictator Yahya Jammeh has rigging the country’s 2016 Presidential elections ahead of time, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Over fifty thousand Gambian Identity Cards (ID Cards) have been issued to non-Gambians residing in the country by the Immigration Department. The goal is to ensure that the non-Gambians—mainly from neighboring Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Bissau Guineans, and elsewhere around the region to be able to acquire a voters card during the Supplementary Registration of Voters due later this year. Non-Gambians acquiring the Gambian ID Card is the pathway to Gambian Citizenship. The ID Card cannot be scrutinized or contested when presented at the Independent Electoral Commission Centers during the issuance of voters cards.

A senior Immigration officer stationed at the Banjul Headquarters told the Freedom Newspaper that the directive to issue ID Cards to non-Gambians came from dictator Yahya Jammeh. He said the Department has been instructed by Jammeh to issue ID Cards to West African migrants residing in the country.

“We have so far issued over fifty thousand voters cards to non-Gambians. We even issue IDS to refugees residing in refugee camps. The goal is to pave the way for Jammeh to win the coming elections. The issuance of ID Cards to non-Gambians is still ongoing. Our personnel travel to communities even during at night to issue IDS to foreigners. Casamance natives constitute the greater percentage of those benefiting from the free ID Card issuance,” our source said.

“The President has given directive for the Department to stop using the Biometric ID Cards. He wants to rig the elections. The laminated paper ID is easy to forge compared to the Biometric ID. There is no proper accountability of the laminated paper ID. Some of our records are hardly retained. But with the Biometric ID, we have the fingerprints of the applicants and their contact details. The international Community is being place on notice that an illegal issuance of ID Cards to non-Gambians is currently ongoing in this country. Such practices will no doubt undermine the freeness and fairness of the elections. This is not the first time that such an illegality has been taking place here. But we never had such a magnitude of ID Card issuance to non-Gambians,” he added.

Interior Minister Ousman Sonko oversees the activities of the Immigration Department. Mr. Sonko has been working with the dictator to ensure that non-Gambians are issue with IDS before the Supplementary Registration of Voters, said our source. 

Written By A Staff Writer

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