As the Presidential Election is less than one month away from now, Yaya Jammeh has decided not to do any campaigning fulfilling his long time wishes to show the international community that Gambians love him so much that they would massively vote for him even without canvasing for their votes. This is a dangerous illusion and an insult to the intelligence of many Gambians who are so desperate for change of government to replace the kleptocracy and authoritarian regime of Yaya Jammeh that many are now ready to crawl over broken glass to vote him out of office.
APRC party militants, regional governors, cabinet ministers, community and youth leaders are all busy campaigning for Jammeh throughout the country, while he continues to sit comfortably in his palace expecting the unsuspecting voters to queue the hot weather and give him a land slide victory; a mandate to turn himself as Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia with unrestricted powers to continue pillaging the country’s resources, replacing constitutional rule with Sharia law, vandalizing all Christians Churches, banning the use of English in schools and making Arabic the official language.
This year’s election is not only about bringing the necessary change to our lives and that of our children, but it is also about voting for someone we hope will respect our freedoms, give us a functioning democratic system and be faithful to our Constitution. If Jammeh cannot tolerate dissent from his own people he should not be voted in to office especially when we all know that he has a reputation for failing to fulfill his many promises and visions.
Ten years ago, Gambians were promised with 24 hour electricity supply throughout the country, food self-sufficiency by 2016, development projects to be commissioned every six months, a fast train shuttling between Basse and to Banjul and progressive economic development unmatched in the region. The promises were so many that he was delighted to describe himself as ‘dictator of development’.
A decade later, we are still experiencing severe power cuts, water shortage, ballooning national debts, plunging salaries, gaping budget deficit, decaying ferries, bad roads, poor infrastructure, widespread youth unemployment, uncontrollable inflation and worsening economic situation unparalleled in the region. With all these bad news coming before the election in few weeks’ time, Jammeh needs to meet the voters talk about issues that are affecting every Gambian and stop painting a rosy picture about his elusive achievements. Some are even calling for a presidential debate to allow the candidates to directly address the relevant issues to the voters. After 22 years in power, if anybody should be grateful to Gambians, it should be Yaya A.J.J.Jammeh.
Term limits, rotational leadership
When political rulers overstayed their usefulness and run out of ideas or expansive visions to continue ruling the masses, the best thing to do is to step aside and allow new different ruling ethos with fresh ideas and talents to take the development agenda further. That is why it is important to have term limits to ensure peaceful rotation of power forestalling any arrogance that can come with powerful dictators who creates no legitimate means of choosing a successor. In China, political leadership changes every ten years to ensure constant supply of fresh talents as party cadets are promoted based on their ability to hit targets.
In the Gambia Yaya Jammeh has succeeded in arrogating power to himself so much so that he can change the Constitution, amend the electoral laws, withdraw the country from the Commonwealth and the ICC, and he is even ready to introduce Islamic Shari’a law endangering the religious harmony that we have enjoyed since we became independent over 50 years ago. He can do all these without any judicial or legislative constraint.
As we brace ourselves for change, we should not forget those members of the opposition UDP party and their leaders who gave their lives and freedom defending democracy in our country. We should vote for change and elect a leader who possessed the quality and sobriety demanded of a president ready to serve the interest of all Gambians for a better future for our children.
Barring any massive vote rigging, an incumbent who wants to win the election without campaigning is living in an alternative Gambia. With severe electricity failures and the dream for food self-sufficiency by 2016 now turned to dust, Gambians including the large number of voters in uniforms (army, police, PIU, immigration, prison services etc.) will seize this unique opportunity to end tyranny and dictatorship ad infinitum .
Written By An Insider Analyst
We are waiting for the IEC to provide the official voter registration figures by region(the former IEC Chairman did the same in March 2016) as the VR exercise is now over to do a detailed analysis of the figures. Stay tuned for the discrepancies.