“THOSE WHO CAST THE VOTES DETERMINE NOTHING; THOSE WHO COUNT THE VOTES DETERMINE EVERYTHING”
BY: Ousainou Mbenga
On June 25 2015, the desperate despot, Jammeh yet again unleashed another of his trademark amendments to assure himself “president for life”. The despotic one million Dalasis ($25,000) fee imposed on presidential candidates and the insult upon injury fee of half a million Dalasis ($12,500) to contest for a National Assembly seat clearly paves the way to hell for our beloved Gambia. But Gambia and her sons and daughters will never go to hell. “If there is a hell below”, Jammeh and his APRC will be the ones to go.
JAMMEH ACTS ON HIS ELECTORAL THREATS
On August 19, 2015, the not so Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of the Gambia wrote to all the legally registered political parties in the Gambia with the caption: REGULARIZATION OF EXISTING POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE GAMBIA.
The letter pointedly referred to the “recent amendment to the Elections Act (2009)”, in particular the “amendments made to section 105 of the principal act to ensure that all political party executives are resident in the Gambia; the political party has a secretariat in each administrative region; and the constitution of the political party requires it to hold a biennial congress”.
The letter continued its imposition by stating: “Furthermore, in accordance with the said laws, each political party write an undertaking that it shall submit its yearly audited account to the commission”.
“This above criteria and any other as enshrined in the electoral law of The Gambia shall be met by all political parties latest March 31st 2016, failure of which will course the” Independent Electoral Commission” to apply the law as to cancel the registration of any defaulting party”.
And on February 9, 2016, a “sequel to the Amendment Act, 2015” letter was dispatched to the political parties as a reminder to conform or risk de-registration. Both letters signed by none other than infamous Chairman of the IEC, Alhagie Mustapha Carayol.
IN PURSUIT OF ABSOLUTE POWER
In the history of electioneering in the Gambia; there will be none like the impending 2016 presidential elections, Jammeh’s fifth “contest” for absolute power. All the instruments required to rig the “elections” are systematically being put in place to intimidate all opposition to APRC tyranny.
Prior to Jammeh’s “ascension to power”, the electoral process in the Gambia was indeed not without questionable transparency, accountability and probity; the three legged – stool the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) said it came to replace. TAP (transparency, accountability and probity) almost replaced the “national anthem” of the Gambia during the euphoric days following the coup.
After its entrenchment as AFPRC and ultimately civilianized into APRC (Association of Pigs, Rats and Coach Roaches), the electoral process in the Gambia degenerated into the most lawless institution ever witnessed in our life time.
ILLUSIONS OF “LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD”
The playing field will never get level under the neocolonial state. Leveling the political playing field is a privilege and a “right” for European states, where the ruling classes generally engage in a peaceful contest for power; an attempt to validate the sham electoral system every four years. This peaceful contest among the imperialist countries; unheard of under neocolonialism, represents the level playing field that “opposition” parties in Africa and other oppressed countries wishfully ask of the incumbent tyrants. Really, why would Jammeh, aspiring to become a monarch under an Islamic Republic level the playing field?
The illusion that “elections and voting” are the highest manifestations of democracy turns on its head every election or selection year since Jammeh “ascension to power”. In the oppressed “nations”, elections are conducted under the most repressive and senseless violence against the masses.
Elections and voting have become the most meaningless democratic exercise for Gambians under the APRC tyranny. Voter apathy hit rock bottom when Jammeh and his spineless IEC imposed a D100 (Dalasis) fee for a voting card. This despicable act of paying for a voting card brings back memories of the poll tax during the colonial era. Jammeh is nothing but a colonialist in black face.
FLIPPING THE NARRATIVE
If Jammeh can challenge and defy the “authority” of the African Union (the hand) and ECOWAS (the glove), why in the hell can’t we challenge his despotic laws? We must shape and control the narrative of electioneering and voting against the APRC as it continues to disrupt our existence.
We cannot vote ourselves out this misery; neither will prayers alone rescue us from the APRC’s impending doom. We must be willing to trust the people’s fighting capacity to uproot Jammeh and the rotten social system that breeds neocolonialism. As an advocate of “by any means necessary” action; elections and voting can be a component but only if we are present to COUNT THE VOTES.
JAMMEH MUST GO! VICTORY IS CERTAIN!