In a recent interview, Honourable Mama Kandeh made the comments that the APRC party is collapsing and one of his executive members took this assertion even further by claiming that the APRC Party is in fact already broken/shattered. As a bona-fide servant of the Second Republic and a close associate of the APRC party for 16 years until 2013, I totally agree with Kandeh’s assertion that the APRC Party is indeed collapsing (although it has not yet shattered). And to buttress this point, I hereby predict that out of the 72% who voted for Jammeh in 2011, not more than 30% will vote for him in Dec!!!
Those who are skeptical of elections and advocating for boycott will ask: What has changed between 2011 and 2016 or how will the 2016 presidential elections be different from those of 2011? The answer is dozens of things have changed or gotten worse since 2011 including the following just to mention a few:
- Jammeh has threatened to wipe out more than 30% of the population (Mandinkas) if re-elected into office.
- Jammeh has promised to make living a hell for more than 20% of the population (Fulas).
- Jammeh has discriminated, marginalized and alienated about 10% of our citizens (Christians).
- Jammeh has unilaterally cut-off the entire country from the Common-Wealth.
- Jammeh has blatantly violated the rights and freedoms of our biggest opposition party.
- Jammeh unilaterally executed nine prisoners without following the due process of law.
- Jammeh has completely personalized the State and claimed ownership of each and every sector of the country.
- Jammeh is the judge, jury and executioner in all judicial matters of the country.
- Jammeh has totally suppressed the freedom of the press.
- Jammeh interferes in all the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizenry.
- Jammeh has disrespected, embarrassed and insulted all our venerable religious leaders while imprisoning others.
- Jammeh has disrespected, embarrassed and insulted our womenfolk while imprisoning some and subjecting them to inhumane and degrading treatment. Not even babies are spared as they accompany their mothers into prison in order to suckle.
Based on these and many other self-destroying actions and statements by Jammeh over the years, I am highly convinced that more than 40% of the former loyalist and voters of the APRC are completely disillusioned and fed up with Jammeh and will not vote for him come December.
While some Gambians are debating whether or not to boycott the elections, the disillusioned 40 per-centers of the APRC Camp (including my humble self) have absolutely no doubt that there would be elections in Dec and therefore, the question we are asking ourselves is: Which one of the opposition parties or candidates would we vote for since our APRC Party is clearly collapsing?
In a previous article, I said that the majority of Gambians who are illiterate, politically uninformed and financially un-independent vote on reasons other than the quality of party leaders or their manifestos. However, most of the people in this group of disillusioned APRC supporters are educated, politically informed and holding jobs either as civil servants or security personnel. Therefore, a question that is worthy of asking is that what is the factor/factors that would determine the voting pattern of this important group of cross-carpeting APRC 40 per-centers?
In my opinion, there is one and only one factor that would determine the voting pattern of this group. With families to feed, school fees to pay, medical and other bills to worry about, I believe that the most important thing for this group is the security and continuity of their jobs. It is this concern for the well-beings of their families and fear of losing their jobs that is why civil servants/security personnel come out in their numbers to attend Jammeh’s rallies/events but keep away from the activities of the opposition parties.
Furthermore, we all know that political change in African countries usually comes with drastic changes, uncertainties and disruptions that affects the safety, security and well-being of people (especially those associated with the former regime). It is because of this fear of change, disruption and uncertainty that is why civil servants/security personnel usually stick to the devil they know than the angel they don’t. In this regard, I believe with total certainty that this group of fed up/frustrated APRC 40 per-centers would not hesitate to give their votes to whichever of the opposition candidate who can guarantee the security and continuity of their jobs.
The Gambia needs a new president like Paul Kagame who will come to build but not to dismantle; like Nelson Mandela to reconcile but not to punish; like Ghandhi to show mercy and not revenge. Someone who would set up Commissions of Reform instead of Commissions of Inquiry; someone who would strengthen our peace/security and not to aggravate the fear and oppression that Gambians have been subjected to for two decades by Jammeh.
If any of our opposition leaders can convince and win the hearts, minds and trust of this group of 40% APRC run-aways, then Yahya Jammeh’s has shot himself on the foot with his simple majority electoral law because this candidate will easily grab the 42% of the APRC votes leaving Jammeh with only 30%!!! Just imagine what the results would be if this candidate is identified and all the opposition parties rally behind him/her? That means 70% for the opposition and 30% for Jammeh!!!
In conclusion, I do hope and pray that the illegal and politically motivated trial and detention of the UDP leadership would immediately come to an end and that our all our opposition leaders would come together and agree on a single candidate to take on Jammeh in Dec.
A question that I would like to ask my readers is that if you were a civil servant or a security personnel, which one of the opposition candidates would you vote for based on the trust that your life, job and family will not be disrupted?
Written By Lamin Gano