Gambia: Starve The Beast: Gambia’s 2016 Electoral Machine!


I have been an outside observer and now a Johnny-Come-Lately insider, looking into the belly of the Gambia’s electoral system. The obvious participants and cardinal players are the APRC, the opposition and the Diaspora groups. The Gambian citizens and masses have all along assumed the position of an observer, in very simple language they have watched things happen or fail to happen.

2016 is the year of elections for Gambia, as the drum beat gets louder, the pace quickens , the terrain becomes more and more crowded, the frenzy accelerates, yes indeed the circus is in town, its déjà vous all over again. Gambian opposition leaders have started making their rounds, today its Gainako, tomorrow its Fatu radio, the day after it will be Freedom radio. As for GRTS that is a non-starter, it’s a no go territory, yes that’s the forbidden media. After 21 years as the opposition, naturally most of the participant have aged, their democratic models flawed, and their method of operations obsolete. Realizing they are about to be marginalized and relegated to the advisory committee, they have opted to defy nature, modify their game plan, and put out calls and appeal for new blood; yes they were heard, the cavalry came running, many responded to these call. However, upon their arrival they quickly realize these were calls for reservists and not a call for reinforcement.

Now that we are in the election cycle of 2016, the good old guard has failed to see the writing on the wall. In their usual and customary manner, we are slowly gravitating to the same old tactics. Defying logic at the ninth hour, they call for electoral reforms, voter ID cards, registration, and the all mighty dollar. These calls are getting louder, orchestrated and synchronized; the Gambian political beast is waking up. Her appetite is great her thirst is equally as great; she demands to be fed and injected with a boost of Kronas, Pound Sterling, Dutch Marks and many other currencies.

No! No! No! I will say STARVE THE BEAST! Hold on to you Dollars, your Kronas, your Dutch Marks and whatever currency one possesses. Hold on tight, sit tight and watch. Natural selection must take its course. It is no secret we all want Babili Mansa Jammeh out; hence the preferred and most viable method that guarantees victory must be allowed to rise to the top. Premature stifling and artificial glass ceiling set in place by the proponents for these Gambian KANGAROO ELECTIONS must be challenged. Yes they must not be allowed to set the agenda and daily narrative all by themselves. We all know:

  • Financing to satisfy the hunger of this Gambian beast will certainly not be coming from the           international donor community any time soon for they know this beast must be starved
  • Financing will not be coming from any major Gambian donors for they too know this beast must be starved
  • Significant and meaningful financing will not be coming from the Gambian Diaspora community, they like the rest of the world have seen no light at the end of the dictatorial tunnel – the path through elections is a dark path, littered with pitfalls and an iffy outcome. Yes they too believe this Gambian political beast must be starved

Not to be left out, I and others will continue the drum beat and lend our voices to the national call for voter registration and voter ID cards; this is a national civic duty that we must all embark on. This is the very least we can do for the sake of country.

In the final analysis, the only path with absolute certainty to depose Babili Mansa Jammeh is the path of popular civil uprising; civil uprising is a democratic option, it is the other political option! In the meantime, we must starve the beast. Yes, hold on to your wallets!

Written By Dr. Samuel. B. Artley, DMD, FAGD.

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