In less than two weeks’ time, Gambians will be voting for constitutional rule, religious pluralism, economic emancipation and genuine democracy that will see the end of the blatant human rights violations characteristic of Yaya Jammeh’s despotic rule. For 22 years, the citizens of this country never had the opportunity to live a normal live. We are born into a country where your rights are not respected, you are treated as second class citizens, our cultural heritage have been hijacked, no religious tolerance, the only job opportunities available are for those who can sing the praises of the president loudest and belong to his ethnic tribe. The evidence of tribalism is everywhere to be seen: in the civil service, the army, the police, the public enterprises, even in cabinet.
Today, many Gambians don’t understand what citizenship means and are now yearning for change to take back our country from the clutches of a dictator, who was sworn to protect the lives, safety and security of the citizens. We have been denied the right to liberty, freedom from assembly and free participation in the political process. With this coming election, our hopes are now pin on possible change of leadership to retake our sovereignty, curb the arrogance of excessive power and bring an end to tribalism and the ‘ Kanilaisation’ of our political and societal values.
Kanilai, a tiny hamlet turned into a modern city
Under our watch, Yaya Jammeh has succeeded in transforming his birth place of Kanilai, from a poor tiny isolated hamlet consisting of small ungated family compounds to a modern fortified city with state –of- the- art building facilities, top rated hotels, good roads and a constant uninterrupted supply of electricity even for those majority of Gambians living in the urban areas are facing regular power cuts on daily basis.
It is politically insensitive and culturally arrogant for Yaya Jammeh to continue running for president after 22 years in power without regards to the poor underdeveloped regions in other parts of the country. Having the seat of power to shift to the bigger local government areas will be good for regional development as well as for the equitable distribution of the economic benefits throughout the country. That is why the time has now come for people to vote Jammeh out. Basse is strategically located and has more commercial significance than Kanilai.
With the two main opposition contenders hailing from the same area in Basse, it is politically insensitive on the side of the GDC leader to still refuse to rally behind the alliance leader Mr. Barrow. The combined resources of the alliance and the extensive political reach supported by highly distinguished battery of erudite politicians committed to do whatever possible to outvote Mr. Jammeh, can no longer be ignored. It is no secret that Adama Barrow possessed the winning formula to embarrass Yaya Jammeh in the polls. The writings are on the wall!
It is now a race against time and knowing that Jammeh is ready to destroy the country to cling on to power. Mama Kandeh can no longer ignore the political reality on the ground especially when the president is losing popular support across the country. He needs to balance political idealism with pragmatism and adjust his position to be part of the unified formidable challenge to upset Jammeh in the polls. Otherwise, many will see him as a spoiler to rig the votes for Yaya Jammeh especially when those members of the UDP opposition party are illegally incarcerated for simply protesting for the release of Solo Sandeng.
Forget about tribal politics, forget about cultural and religious divide, having two natives from the great region of Basse to split the votes in favor of the incumbent will send the wrong signal and make our departed elders spinning in their graves. The two of have shared interest in seeing Jammeh lose the election, coming together will settle the nerves of the electorates to vote massively for the united opposition front nullifying any vote rigging or illegal voting effects from those Jolas travelling across the border near Jammeh’s Kanilai.
Shifting the seat of power to the other regions will not only be good for Gambian democracy but it can forestall the desire of a president who wants to rule our country for life by introducing Sharia Law immediately after the votes and officially transforming Kanilai into the new administrative capital of the Gambia pushing Banjul into the dustbin of history.
Written By An Insider Analyst