A leading Gambian Gender and Political activist Fatoumatta Tambajang, says she supports a peaceful civil disobedience in the event dictator Yahya Jammeh rigs the country’s 2016, Presidential elections. Ms. Tambajang, speaking from her home in Banjul, on Thursday, during Freedom Radio Gambia’s Civic Education Program, argues that it doesn’t look like the upcoming elections, would be free, fair, transparent and credible—given the fact that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has been registering underage school going students to vote.
“I have seen it with my naked eyes. I witnessed it. The IEC went to The Gambia High School, and started registering underage students. One of the students, who was issued with voter’s card is sixteen years old. She is my relative. I had to take the card from her. I have the card in my possession,” She tells Freedom Radio Gambia.
The former United Nations Official, and also Gambian Health Minister under Jammeh’s rule, noted that the credibility of the December, 1st, 2016, Presidential elections, has been undermined, while citing the IEC’S illegal issuance of voter’s cards to underage kids.
“It is my firm belief and conviction that the elections has been rigged ahead of time. Notwithstanding, the opposition should come together and form a united front to tackle Jammeh heads on. I don’t know of the other existing opposition parties, if I, have people behind my back (followers) I, will lead a Civil disobedience in this country. I am ready for anything. We cannot afford to entertain a rigged elections,” Ms. Tambajang said.
“We have written to the opposition parties, calling for an alliance in the coming polls. I signed the letter on behalf of concerned Gambians. The opposition should unite in the interest of salvaging the country from Jammeh’s self-perpetual rule. This country is on the brink of total collapse. We need to come together to salvage The Gambia from perishing. Jammeh has inflicted so much harm and destruction to this country,” she added.
Ms. Tambajang went onto lament the economic miseries Gambians are enduring under Jammeh’s watch. She says poverty is threatening the lives of Gambians, adding that unemployment has also reached its climax in The Gambia. She also talked about the collapsed heath and financial sectors of the country. Hence, she warns that it’s only through regime change that Gambians can emerge from the current predicament they found themselves. She branded Jammeh as a liability leader, who has neglected the affairs of this country. Removing Jammeh, in the coming polls, should be the collective responsibility of all Gambians, she posited. She says Jammeh represents failure and underdevelopment.
Ms. Tambajang was among the opposition delegates, who attended a pro-democracy meeting in New York, some months ago. The meeting was organized by the Coalition For Change Gambia, a US based Rights Group Organization. She was tasked with uniting the opposition upon her return to Banjul.
According to Ms. Tambajang, she has made frantic efforts to meet with the leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party Ousainou Darboe, but without much success. She even visited Darboe’s home on numerous occasions, and each time, she visited Darboe’s home, she was told by Darboe’s wife that the opposition leader, was either busy, or out of his home on other errands. She also phoned Darboe at some point, but Darboe’s driver received the phone. She was told that Darboe was in court litigating cases. However, Mr. Darboe wouldn’t return her phone call either despite numerous visits she made at Darboe’s home.
Notwithstanding, Ms. Tambajang doesn’t view Darboe’s failure to return her call as a problem. She is still determined to have an audience with Mr. Darboe. She hopes to meet Darboe today Friday, to discuss the need for an opposition merger.
With regards to the other opposition parties, Ms. Tambjang said she met with OJ Jallow, the leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), who assured her, that he, was open for an opposition merger. She praised OJ for his commitment to see to it that the opposition forms an alliance to end Jammeh’s despotic rule.
For the opposition PDOIS, Ms. Tambajang said she tried to reach out to Halifa Sallah, the leader of PDOIS, who told her that he was busy with other errands. She said Halifa, was quick to tell her, that if her, proposed meeting with him, had to do with opposition related issues, her best bet was to speak to Sedia Jatta, another official of PDOIS. Halifa referred her to Sedia, stating that he (Halifa) was going to be busy now towards March, 19, with party activities.
Ms. Tambajang wasn’t the least pleased with the reception accorded to her by Halifa. She is of the view that Mr. Sallah, should at least have the decency, and accords her, an audience to explain herself, to him, before rushing to refer her to Sedia Jatta.
“I am at least older than Halifa Sallah by age. I expect him to be more considerate with me. I will still continue to engage the PDOIS and its leadership,” she said.
Ms. Tambajang also used the interview to call on the exiled online radios to refuse airtime to opposition leaders, who are bent on selling their own agendas to Gambians at the detriment of the collective interest of the suffering oppressed Gambian masses. She said opposition leaders, who doesn’t propagate opposition unity shouldn’t be entertained.
“It is counterproductive for the opposition to be using the online radios to promote their own party agendas, when they could use such mediums to call for unity. No single opposition party can singlehandedly defeat Yahya Jammeh. There is an absolute need for the opposition to come together to tackle Jammeh in the coming elections,” she said.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai