It is the second time in less than two weeks that President Yahya Jammeh’s convoy mills around the campaign rallies of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) in the Kombos. His heavily armed fleet of cars passed through Kafuta the previous week while the UDP was holding its rally. Two strange things happened soon after the presidential convoy left: Kafuta had power outage and that Mr. Jammeh sent a truck load of rice and cooking oil to the village.
As if he is obsessed with nailing the coffin on the UDP at all cost, the Jammeh regime tightened security in and around Busumbala on Sunday as if there was a rebellion in the area. No reasons were explained for the deployment of armed soldiers in Busumbala.
The Police Intervention Unit officers later closed the traffic before the presidential convoy left Kanilai to Banjul. A police source questioned what he called “overzealous mobilisation of security officers in Busumbala.” Some panic-laden senior security officers were filled with panic. They too questioned the justification of the unnecessary deployment.
“It is not necessary to alarm the residence, as the rally is a peaceful assembly of UDP militants,” one senior police officer complained. “Heavy presence of soldiers with guns will alarm people and can cause unrest.”
The trouble-seeking President them passed peacefully without a melee. His government’s action in Busumbala has evidently left Gambians reeling with unanswered questions: is he trying to provoke the UDP into a bloody encounter or scare the party militants with the military? In the words of one opposition militant, President Jammeh should know that Gambians no longer fear of anything. “What do you expect if you push your subjects to the brink?”
We are waiting to see whether Jammeh’s convoy will attempt to pass or the government deploy heavy security presence anywhere the UDP is holding its rally again. Let Jammeh know that The Gambia’s peace and stability lies in your hands. He will be held responsible for any future political crisis in a country he has been holding hostage.