(JollofNews)-An opposition leader in the Gambia has accused President Yahya Jammeh of holding the Gambia captive and denying Gambians their democratic rights and freedoms.
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), said the Gambian people including members of the country’s National Assembly are at the mercy of Mr Jammeh who has become too powerful and continues to erode civil liberties, the rule of law, inflate his powers and lay siege on the media and opposition parties.
Reacting to the newly passed election amendment bill 2015, which increased the registration fee for political parties to 100 per cent, Mr Darboe accused the president of using the country’s electoral commission to table a ‘bogus and shambolic proposal’ for electoral reforms without consulting the opposition.
“The IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] should know better but choose to be on the wrong side of history, because they knew the APRC MPs are nothing but a bunch of men and women who go along with anything and everything the Gambian ‘problem’ instructs them,” the UDP leader wrote on his Facebook page.
“President Jammeh will continue to be a thorn in the flesh of decent citizens of our land. He will continue to erode civil liberties, the rule of law, inflate his powers and lay siege on the media and opposition parties for as long as he remains the commander- in-chief.
“I ask President Jammeh to stop the dictatorship style of governance, the continuous arrest and detention of journalist and media executives, the arbitrary arrest of Gambians, the misuse of public funds, the endless comical utterances and sinister plots.”
Mr Darboe reminded President Jammeh that elections are conducted for politicians to sell their ideas and agendas to voters.
He added: “If indeed President Jammeh believes and knows that he won elections the right way with popular mandate in the past, why then is he constantly uncomfortable with being a democrat? Does President Jammeh in fact insidiously accepts and knows that he cannot win any free and fair elections cleanly and has never won any free and fair election throughout his presidency, thus the constant attempts to circumvent democratic norms and values. A President who cannot win a clean election will always continue to manipulate the system in his favours. Gambians should focus their attention on President Jammeh as the sole brain behind this electoral reform bill not the MPs who are only contended with their pay cheque and nothing else.”
The UDP leader said the ruling party MPs were never free to act on their conscience and have enslaved themselves by passing the controversial law.
He added that it is the responsibility of Gambians to free the MPs from the captor [Jammeh] and free the Gambia from the continuous never ending game of one ‘hardship after another’.
He added: “Our human rights and dignity is far greater than any superficial development he [President Jammeh] brags about. Development is not equal infringement on people’s rights.
Development is meant to improve the living conditions of citizens, create greater progress in their thinking, logical comprehension of everyday issues, advance social and economic status, increase and give easy access to higher institutions of learning, better job opportunities, better pay and an overall contribution to making people happier and free to express their opinions on issues that matters to them.
“Jammeh loves the display of the façade of democracy as much as he hates its essence, pretending to be committed to it while despising it thoroughly. Gambians wants free and fair elections, affordable politics, equal access to the public space and political landscape, why constrain and restrict it, considering President Jammeh’s own humble background.”