The Spotlight: Scramble for the Gambia 2016, Part II
By Yero Jallow
“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles; but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles” (Martin Luther King Jnr., Strength to Love).
It is an open secret that Gambia’s presidential elections are fast approaching and in just about ten months time, the much talked about elections would have been history. Victory if there is anything such goes to either the oppressing Leader Yaya Jammeh or slimly a chance to one of the opposition leaders. For elections to have loss and victory there have to be a good democratic process in place, the recipe and ingredients are lacking in today’s Gambian set-up where an incumbent mighty elephant acts as the greedy pig and has its stinky feet on anything civilize, Gambia and Gambian. Elections in that way will not determine victory and loss and that continues to put the Gambia’s further dream for democracy in jeopardy.
Last week, the head of the IEC, Mustapha Carayol, a supposed retired responsible senior citizen turns out to be a turncoat for the criminal administration over the years, the latest is the threats he made to Gambia’s opposition. According to the Point Newspaper, the release stated “Sequel to the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2015 and the notice sent earlier to all political parties to comply with this Act, all political parties are hereby reminded to regularize their status by providing the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) with an updated list of their party executive members and the addresses of their parties’ secretariats in each administrative region by not later than 31st March 2016” ( The Point, Culled online 2/14/2016 from http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/political-parties-urged-to-regularise-status). IEC has been criticized for its lack of credibility. The organization is a stooge of Jammeh’s criminal administration and they continue to further serve as enablers of the criminal regime, a misrepresentation of their role in the highest order.
In another negative development, as if it is not enough with the political nonsense home, a Gambian journalist and member of Gambia Press Union, Baboucarr Ceesay in the Gambia, recently complained on his face book social media page on the conspiracy hatched by the APRC and the IEC, wherein they are selling voters cards to citizens. It is a known fact that there are some that cannot afford that money to buy voters cards which they will rather use in buying basic food items, skyrocketing and unaffordable already. Ceesay’s query is a genuine citizen query and he never fail to represent. Below I reproduce Ceesay’s Face book post culled from Face book on 2/14/2016, “I bought my voter card for D100.00 (hundred dalasis) to enable me vote in the in forthcoming elections. I call it buying because it is supposed to be free by the way. We are told that the central government pumped in 33 million dalasis for the supplementary registrations, but that did not prevent IEC to attach fees to the replacement of lost and spoiled cards. I went to the registration centre at Talinding Lower/Upper Basic School and I told the registration officers that I came to buy a voter card. They said the payment is neither buying nor is the issuance selling but I paid and was given a receipt. I met some young people who lost or get their cards spoiled but could not afford the amount. How would they vote? This means such people are at the mercy of demagogues who can induce them by paying for their cards among other crazy things.”
Gainako’s co-editor, Yusef Taylor based in the U.K also gathered a lot more on this practice of selling voters cards to citizens and a damning report is to ensure soon to expose the criminal regime in their election malpractices ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.
On the side of Gambia’s opposition, Citizens continue to dream that they will realize the urgency of our situation. I have addressed the situation in the previous Spotlight submissions. In my Spotlight review of January 2016, I argued, “Rightly so, Gambia’s opposition have power struggle, otherwise what principles are there to bar them from forming a coalition, as the Gambia is bigger than all of our individual problems and interests combined. It is understandable on what comes with power, its sweetness, the accolades, demonstration of leadership, love for country, and a wish to serve country and citizens. That love for country and citizens should be in fact the driving factor in going into a marriage coalition, in an effort to defeat Jammeh and his criminal administration. Gambians in particular seems to underestimate leading from the behind when even the late Madiba (Nelson Mandela) of South Africa said, ‘It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.’ We all cannot be in the front. Leadership is about representation where each participant takes a role that he/she is good at, or learns to deliver (Gainako, Culled from the web on 2/14/2016, http://gainako.com/the-spotlight-scramble-for-the-gambia/).
In the scramble for the Gambia 2016 to liberate the Gambia from the clutches of tyranny, the likes of Mustapha Carayol, should excuse themselves from the IEC table, as their record is characterized by enabling the criminal system. Such unfairness and wrecking of the democratic system have lasting effects in the peaceful existence of the Gambia and its quest for democracy, with far more problems that can arise from it in the future. This is something that Carayol, the IEC, the APRC, Citizens and the Opposition are already aware. Citizens should be in charge of their destiny. That destiny includes a governable country for the future generations to avoid political turmoil and other related conflicts that will threaten development, peaceful existence and sovereignty.