By Scott Morgan
December 1st was Election Day in the West African Nation of the Gambia. Like several other nations this was to determine if a long entrenched leader would leave via the will of the electorate at the Ballot Box. More often than not the answer ends up being no.
This is an interesting paradigm to suggest that a long entrenched leader would actually listen to the cries at the Ballot Box. Especially one who initially seized power in a Coup. But there is no denying that the Population within the Country are crying for a change. Herein the reason for elections.
We are seeing a new calculus at work in some African Countries. Long Entrenched Leaders are holding elections. But by shutting down telecommunications (Phone & Internet Service) they are actually masking their efforts to retain power. In Some Countries the Electoral Commissions tabulate and analyze the results electronically. By shutting down these platforms the “proper” results can be generated without people realizing that their voices are being manipulated.
In some cases the Electoral Commissions often provide real time updates of how the counting process is proceeding. When Denis Soussou-Ngueso won his very controversial reelection in the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) He waited until the votes were cast before Shutting down the Phones and Internet. That way He could “win” reelection with numbers that were artificially created for his purpose.
Another fact that assists in this effort is having your allies as your Election Observers. We know that the AU was allowed into the Country to observe the polls while his critics in both the EU and ECOWAS determined that the climate was not conducive for them to operate and observe the polls in what they considered to be in a free manner.
The Easy Part is over. The people lined up and expressed their opinions about who they wanted to lead the Country. Mr. Jammeh who is in power and wishes to remain so most likely has a major difference of opinion. It should be remembered that Mr. Jammeh did enter into power via a Coup. That should ultimately prove how he may actually feel about the Democratic Process