(JollofNews) – This time tomorrow, 886, 578 Gambians will be casting their votes in the 2016 presidential election.
President Yahya Jammeh who has governed the country since July 1994 is being challenged in the polls by Mamma Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress and Adama Barrow who is heading a coalition of opposition parties including the Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), the National Convention Party (NCP), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) the Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP).
This election is different from the past elections and is an opportunity for Gambians to decides whether they want a fresh start or a continuation of the status quo.
President Yahya Jammeh has already signaled during the campaign that he is not going to change his gung-ho attitude of showing no mercy to his critics and opponents. In other words, it is going to be a continuation of the same policies of human rights abuses including arrest, detention, torture and murder of Gambians by security forces with impunity.
Mr Jammeh has grown bigger than the Gambia and sees the country as his personal property to handle as he pleases. He sees Gambians as his servants who should serve him with complete submission. He does not give a monkey to the country’s constitution and the rights and freedoms of Gambians.
Today, almost every Gambian has got a closed or distant relative who is either jailed, killed or exiled by Jammeh for one unexplained reason or the other.
It is true that Mr Jammeh and his APRC regime has brought development to the doorsteps of Gambians including health centres, schools, good road network to name a few. But we at JollofNews believe that these projects cannot be used as a yardstick to measure Gambia’s development status.
The development of a country is not measured by the number of tall buildings a government has built. It is measured based on how well off the local people are and Gambians would rather live in mud houses in peace than live in skyscrapers in oppression and bondage.
The Gambia is far from developed as over 60 per cent of our population is living on less than US$1 a day.
The Gambia is at high risk of debt distress, even after receiving Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative CMDRI) debt relief and for many years now, Gambians are living in economic uncertainty epitomised by skyrocketing prices of basic commodities like rice, bread, and oil which is making it difficult for the ordinary man in the street to put a decent meal on the table.
Agriculture, the backbone of the country’s economy is on its dead knees and many Gambians especially farmers and rural Gambians are now reduced to beggars while the sustainability of some families rest solely on the shoulders of their sons and daughters abroad.
Today, the situation is forci
ng a large percentage of intelligent and hardworking youths to embark on the risky illegal migration to Europe across the Mediterranean in other to provide for their families.
While Jammeh and his cronies are getting richer and richer by the day, we the poor are getting poorer not because of laziness or lack of hard work. The cycle of poverty is continuing to grow bigger and bigger and there is no hope for our future generations.
And in the midst of our sufferings, hardships and cries for help, Jammeh drives past our towns and villages in his fleet of expensive cars and throws packets of biscuits at us while laughing at us as we shove and fight one another over the biscuits.
We Gambians cannot endure another five years of Mr. Jammeh and his cronies. They are not the type of leaders the Gambia needs in this 21st century. And the longer they stays in power, the more they are becoming a threat to the peace and stability of our dear country.
As there is no justice and respect to the principles of democracy in the Gambia, we at JollofNews believe that it will be hard for the Gambia to develop and achieve its true potential. For there cannot be progress and development in the Gambia without peace and justice.
We call on Gambians to vote for Adama Barrow and the opposition coalition. The opposition coalition is the key to unlock a more democratic and peaceful Gambia where the rule of law and the respect to the rights and freedoms of Gambians will be the order of the day.
Gambians should use their votes and show Mr Jammeh and his cronies that they have had enough of his insults and politics of division. Let’s show to Jammeh that he may have the millions in his bank but he cannot buy our dignity and desire for freedom.
Let’s show to Jammeh that he may have the police, the army and the NIA on his palms, but he cannot intimidate and enslave us any longer.
Let’s show Jammeh that he may have the guns but he cannot keep us in passive subjugation and perpetual darkness.
Let’s use our votes tomorrow and plant the tree for a better, peaceful and more prosperous Gambia.
Let’s vote for Adama Barrow and the opposition coalition. Let’s vote for change.