Statement by the Former Minister of Information & Communication, Sheriff Bojang on the Political Impasse in The Gambia
أعوذُ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ ٱلرَّجِيمِ (A’udhu billahi min ash-shaytaan-ir-rajeem)
I begin in the name of Allah the Most High, the Most Clement and the Giver of Wisdom.
I begin this statement by hereby announcing that I have taken the decision, and written to the relevant high authority to the effect that I have resigned from the Government and the Cabinet as Minister of Information & Communication Infrastructure with immediate effect.
I hereby wish to thank His Excellency, President Yahya AJJ Jammeh for according me the onerous opportunity to serve my country in the high office of Minister of State for exactly the past two years this month.
On 1st December 2016, the people of The Gambia went to the polls to elect a new head of state. After the final tally of votes Mr Adama Barrow of the Coalition was duly announced winner and declared president-elect. President Jammeh conceded defeat and pledged to work with Mr Barrow on a transition.
However on 5th December 2016, the electoral commission issued a statement clarifying that when the total votes per region were being tallied, certain figures were “inadvertently transposed”. The error was corrected and did not change the status quo.
On 9th December 2016, President Jammeh announced his rejection of the results. Subsequently, petitions were filed at the Supreme Court, which among other things call for a declaration of the nullification of the results, a rerun of the polls.
It is my considered opinion and stance that the results of the December 1st election represent a true reflection of the sovereign will of the Gambian people. The current attempts while appearing to have a veneer of constitutionalism are in fact an attempt to subvert the express will of the Gambian electorate. The people have spoken and they could not have spoken louder and clearer. They want change. A disaggregation of results shows that apart from the Fonis, the APRC and President Jammeh secured a 50+ per cent majority in only 3 out of 53 constituencies.
The APRC has no one to blame but itself for its dismal performance at the polls. We took very impolitic decisions from mid-2015 which led to a haemorrhaging of support from our traditional bases and made the party unappealing to new millennial voters. The Gambia has decided and we must accept and respect this decision.
This is the time for clear thinking and not burying of heads in the sand. To remain relevant, the APRC must take the hard decisions and make the necessary systemic and structural changes within the party.
The first of these hard decisions should be the dropping of petitions at the apex court, re-engaging President-elect Barrow and his Coalition team and expediting the transition arrangement.
I hereby appeal to my colleagues in cabinet, among them some of the finest ladies and gentlemen of the first order, and of course including His Excellency President Jammeh, to look into their conscience and take the right decision within the most reasonable time for the present and future of our vulnerable little Gambia. It is never too late to do the right thing.
I want to apologise to my colleagues in Cabinet that since the President’s December 9th announcement, my refusal to attend all cabinet meetings despite some of their entreaties was not meant as an affront or rebuff to anyone but a symbolic gesture of my opposition to what is taking place.
Finally, I have been heartened by comments – with the exception of one (an interview granted to The Guardian of London by a senior member of the Coalition) – from President-elect Barrow, Halifa Sallah, Ousainou Darboe and others on their vision of the post-Jammeh Gambia.
I hereby acknowledge Mr Adama Barrow as the President-elect of The Gambia stemming from the wishes of Gambians and the will of the Almighty Allah. I also call on President Jammeh to respect the wishes of Gambians and the will of the Almighty Allah he so much expressly believes in, and start the transition and hand over power within the stipulated 60 days from the elections.
In taking this decision and making this statement I have not sought the undue advice or help of anyone within or outside The Gambia and I am not seeking the validation or otherwise of any person or group.
Baba Sheriff Bojang
Issued in Dakar on Monday 9th December 2016