To those who have been closely following elections in this country know that elections in the Gambia have never been free and fair under Yaya Jammeh. The IEC’s independence is constitutionally guaranteed and, in the exercise of its functions, the Commission should not be subject to the directive or control of any person or authority. The manner of past dismissals of IEC members strongly suggests that Commissioners do not enjoy the security of tenure guaranteed by the Constitution. Since 1996 four Chairpersons have been removed from office (one of them twice) without following due process..
In 1996, the late Bishop Tilewa Johnson with blessed memories exposed some “malpractices” that characterized the 1996 elections. He was sacked unconstitutionally for revealing things that he claimed went wrong with the elections which let Jammeh claiming victory by 55.7% of the vote cast.
During the 2001 presidential elections, the propaganda secretary of the main UDP, Lamin Wa Juwara, has called on the chairman of the IEC to resign for presiding over what he refered to as ” the most fraudulent election ever held in the country’s political history” He alleged that the IEC manipulated the election results to favor Yaya Jammeh by massively registering people outside the official registration deadline resulting in what he called cross border voting.
In July 2006, the then Chairperson of the IEC Bishop Johnson and two Commissioners were dismissed by President Jammeh, and the Vice-Chairman Alagie Mustapha Carayol was appointed Chairperson. The official results of that election was challenged by leader of the main opposition lawyer Darboe claiming widespread fraud and voter intimidation by local Chiefs, governorss and security agents. Jammeh was fraudulently re-elected for a third term, while Darboe was seeking legal advice to challenge the outcome of the election,
With a voter turnout of 83% in the 2011 Presidential Election, Yaya Jammeh was re-elected for the fourth term amidst controversy for widespread fraud and intimidation with evidence of non-Gambians crossing the borders coming to vote for him. The counting of ballots in designated counting centers in all the regions was susceptible to fraud and many cast doubts about the authenticity of the huge leads that the incumbent had.
This year, many people welcome with open arms the decision by the IEC to count the ballots on the spot. To many this is what contributed to Jammeh’s defeat as he can no longer manipulate the results in his favor by exchanging the ballot boxes with his own when they are being transported to the regional centers for counting.
By refusing to succumb to any undue influences to rig the votes the present Chairman has shown the world that there are Gambians who are honest and God-fearing ready to stand up against the powerful dictator. Despite his gleeful defiance, Mr. Njie is still insisting on the veracity of the results and even urging the defeated incumbent to respect the will of the people in the spirit of national unity. That alone showed the genuine intention of a man who is guided by the true meaning of the words he said when he took the oath of office to carry out his functions without fear and favor. By doing that he has saved Gambians at home and abroad another five years of abusive rule of a president who take delight in mayhem and murdering his people.
By sticking to his guns, Alhagie Alieu Momar Njie have proven many of his critics wrong including myself. Gambians have voted Adama Barrow for change, but the real winner of this election is Alieu Momar Njie. May God Bless Him and guide the president-elect to steer the affairs of this country to success.
Thank you Alhagie Alieu Momar Njie. You have proudly made your mark in the annals of Gambian history making it possible to expel an incumbent dictator at the ballot box. You will never join the list of those sacked IEC Chairpersons who were unconstitutionally removed from office because they failed to comply with Yaya Jammeh’s manipulations of the votes to stay in power. That power has now been taken back by the people.