Presently, Gambia exudes smothering political heat waves which condense at an alarming rate. If these violent political clouds hovering over the Gambian horizon are not dissipated, 2016 will be stuck in our conscience like bad melody forever. One does not need to be in Banjul or Basse to feel Gambia’s repelling humid political climate. Gambia’s senile dictator is not only determined to tighten his grip onto power but avails and alerts himself to utilise any means necessary to continue saddling on Gambians with impunity. Consequently, either result of the 2016 Gambian presidential election will be carved by posterity as historically significant for Gambians.
On the one hand, voting Jammeh into office punctuates legitimizing brutal Dictatorship and on the other hand, voting him out of office rejuvenates democracy. Therefore, it is not an embellishment to proclaim the Gambia as a nation desk on a political brink and the 2016 presidential election is a fundamental deciding factor of her fate. We either push her into a dark bottomless pitch or lift her to safety from the debris of dictatorship and slavery of submission come polling day in December 2016. Many, particularly in the diaspora, are opinionated that Dictatorship is never voted out of office but chased out of office and the Kanilai Monster will not be an exception. Their argument and I reference, “In a democracy, it is absolutely normal for people to vote because elections are free and fair and their vote counts. Far from being a democracy, Gambia is in reality a Dictatorship, in a Dictatorship your vote does not count, then what is the logic behind heading to the polls knowing that there is no way a Dictator can be ejected out of office through the system of voting by the ballot”. Very sad indeed. However, the Gambian malaise is beyond casting votes.
Forlornly, there is yet any glimpse of hope for a unified opposition force to put up a candidate to flex muscle with the Kanilai Monster. This ideal has routinely resurfaced in many panel discussions held by Gambians in the diaspora. Most of my colleagues and I believe with a well-organised, fully funded and unified opposition presenting one presidential candidate against Dictator Jammeh, he will have a show down for his money in the December polls. I hope and pray the opposition leaders will listen to the voices of their supporters and come together to present one candidate against Monster Jammeh in order to raise the Gambia from the images of hopelessness. Hope, therefore, is one powerful energizer that strengthens the heart and enlivens the spirit which propels the will to match on head high when everything else suggests otherwise. It is this hope that President Obama may have alluded to when he posits” …not blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I am not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us just to sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is the stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.” Significantly, it is with this hope that something better awaits us that the opposition must work together to fight and change the tide of political waves in The Gambia to our advantage against Jammeh.
Whether one supports or against President Jammeh, the fact remains indisputable that he is a virtual monster dressed as a statesman. There is a battery of evidences to substantiate the afore premise. Many who perceived Jammeh as a charismatic leader will hasten to affirm, he is not. They, often justify President Jammeh’s good leadership with the building of roads, schools, hospitals, the university, airport and his extravagance/generosity. The Gambian dissidents in the diaspora are the enemies of Gambia because they tarnish the image of the country to the outside world. Conversely, “the struggle” without a second thought concludes President Jammeh is a non-starter and epitomises evil. What are their reasons for wanting Jammeh go at all cost? His human rights records, muzzling the freedom of speech, poor economic policies, heavy handedness, corruption and political thuggery. Under the unenviable leadership of Jammeh, Gambia has desolately descended from an amazing beacon of democracy to a daunting dictatorship. All functional and independent state institutions such as the police, NIA and national assembly have been transformed into limbs of terror.
As a starter, every eligible Gambian must register to vote in the 2016 presidential election. Equally, each should watch, document and report any voter fraud registration or irregularity within your constituent. Once that is attained, it then becomes the responsibility of the opposition parties to enlighten the electorates on their rights and responsibilities as citizens. A lot can be achieved between now and polling day in December.
Furthermore, the opposition must hold the IEC to task and ensure that there is no only first among equals during the presidential political campaign. Each is treated the same as the other. The international community must equally be informed by any development from voter registration to counting of votes. Each irregularity expose and documented. When it comes to contesting the results, there would be ample evidence to revoke it.
Written By Sulayman Jeng, Birmingham, UK