Another interesting topic of debate on Gambian political issues is the possibility of Jammeh rigging the Dec elections with some people going as far as to claim that the elections have in fact already been rigged. This blog post is my take on this issue.
It is an open secret that electoral irregularities/malpractices have indeed been taking place in the Gambia and we all know how these malpractices were carried out such as the abuse and monopolization of state resources; the manipulation of the security forces and civil servants; and the calculated use of inducement and coercion by the incumbent against our vulnerable citizenry.
However, to give praise where praise is due, there is one aspect of our electoral system that is worthy of commendation and this is the process of on the spot counting of votes. As a result of this transparent and foolproof factor, the hard and uncomfortable truth is that out of the votes cast in the previous presidential elections, 72% did indeed voted for Jammeh. Whatever may have been done to “convince” these people to vote for Jammeh (I was not one of them by the way as I was in the Darfur Region of Sudan doing disarmament, demobilization and re-integration of armed groups), must have taken place before the voting and not during the counting process or afterwards.
Based on my conviction that the majority of Gambians have reached there culmination point with the APRC regime, I believe that no amount of coercion or inducements will make them to vote for Jammeh this year. Even if Jammeh were to personally accompany each Gambian into the voting booths with a briefcase or money or a gun pointed on their heads, the majority of the Gambians will not vote for him on 01 Dec.
Now, to respond to the question of whether Jammeh can rig this year’s elections especially after the people have voted, I can think of only on way in which he can do that. That is for him to eliminate the on the spot counting clause and then to pass a new law that all the ballot boxes are to be taken to his bunkers in Kanilai for him to personally count the votes. I am sure that not even the soldiers will help him to count because like the majority of Gambians, the majority of our soldiers are also yearning for a new Commander-in-Chief.
In conclusion, although there has been no electoral reforms, I do hope that ECOWAS will not boycott Gambia’s 2016 elections as they did in 2011 because in spite of the lack of a level political field, Gambians are determined to vote Jammeh out and we will therefore need more international election observers than ever before to witness this historical democratic and peaceful process. Long live the Republic of The Gambia.
Written By Lamin Gano