By Baboucar Bojang
The Diasporan Gambians are the biggest election propaganda machine for Jammeh’s re-election in 2016.
Here is why:
Jammeh wants the diaspora Gambians and online media to continue campaigning for him unconsciously and he is succeeding in doing just that FREE of charge.
Yaya Jammeh is very happy with the diaspora Gambians position on elections. All he prays for is for you to continue hammering in the head of the Gambians that election will never bring him down. Sadly the diaspora succumb in his trap and wish whiles doing the BEST propaganda for his re-election in 2016. There is a known traditional belief which says family secrets should remain within the family and should not be exposed in the streets. This is exactly what you are doing for Jammeh freely.
What is Jammeh’s secret?
I Baboucarr Bojang resident in the Gambia before Jammeh came to power and having written a lot of articles for freedom newspaper did believe like most of you that elections would not remove Jammeh from power. I have always been an advocate of the slogan “By all means necessary to remove Jammeh from power” and justifiably so until recently.
For the past two years, I have done a lot of election research on the ground by talking to lots of people from all walks of life to gauge whether or not elections can remove Jammeh from office. Here are my honest conclusions.
The general feelings of Gambians at home are mitigated. Half the people I spoke to believe that due to election rigging and voter apathy, it will be difficult to vote Jammeh out of office. The other half frankly believe that if Gambians come out and vote massively for the opposition Jammeh will be out.
It is however agreed by most that the problems the opposition faces are as follows:
- Casamance foreigners crossing the border to vote in our presidential elections and go back. Their numbers are estimated close to 100, 000 people crossing the border and staying in abandoned hotels and schools for one week before the election date. Our voter register is close to 800, 000 registered voters. The number is therefore is about 12.5% of the registered voters. It so happens that after the 2011 elections a lot of these Casamance foreigners have their Gambian voting cards and ID cards confiscated by the Senegalese border police and customs on their way back home. This fact has been hidden by the APRC but the Senegalese authorities have confirmed this fact. A lot of Gambians are not aware of this fact. Due to this factor a lot foreigners will not venture into this illegality in the coming 2016 elections for fear of being prosecuted by the Senegalese authorities. It is also important to note that Yaya Jammeh has not set foot in Senegal since Macky Sall’s swearing in ceremony in 2012. Why? A lot of changes took place in Casamance region and Jammeh lost the remote control of the region. The MFDC movement who were helping Jammeh and encouraging illegal voting for Jammeh’s election are now much closer to Macky Sall than Yaya Jammeh.
- Now going by arithmetic, if you take the total number of votes in 2011, which is less than 400, 000 votes cast, you deduct the 100, 000 foreign voters, you will get less than 300, 000 Gambians that effectively voted in 2011 from a total register of 800, 000 voters. This in reality mean that 400, 000 Gambians did not vote in 2011. This is a huge number of voter apathy in waiting.
- Going forward, if the foreign voters are reduced to half their number due to the unexpected experience they had in 2011 at the Senegalese border, the potential number of Gambian voters will be greater in 2016. Given the fact that Jammeh has antagonized all sectors of the Gambian society, the Imams he jails in particular, the men folks he insults in all his meetings, his recent insults and witchcraft accusations of the Foni Jolas, the Kombo Coastal youths arrest and tortures, the dead business sector, the high unemployment rate and stagnant salaries, the high cost of living and the families losing loved ones on the back way to Europe, it is therefore abundantly evident that Jammeh has lost a lot of esteem and consideration. All signs and indications are that Jammeh will not be able to repair the damages done to himself and his party over time a year from now. Jammeh is politically dead. The fact is Jammeh’s vote count has been going down each elections cycle. The percentage point he gets is irrelevant in the results. The number of votes is what is important in elections.
- Most Gambians be they at home or abroad are of the opinion that Jammeh should go. We all agree the Gambia needs a new leader. If such is the case why should we Gambians continue to be the propaganda machines for Jammeh’s re-election by telling ourselves and people that we cannot vote him out of office? Why encouraging voter apathy when numbers are what matters?
If 400, 000 Gambians decide to vote for the opposition in 2016, Jammeh will lose the elections miserably. All we need to do is ask our people to go and vote. The vote count this time around is done on the spot and all polling stations will have opposition representatives who make sure the counting is transparent.
The next question one will ask is, will Jammeh bow out of office honourably after losing the elections in the eyes of the world? The answer is YES. If Jammeh tries to defy the democratic world, the world will find the means of taking him out by FORCE with clear legitimacy.
Such being the case it is more than high time that Gambians in the diaspora stop being pessimistic. You should stop doing the propaganda that Jammeh needs most by unconsciously encouraging voter apathy in 2016. If you truly want change then you should change your perception that elections is not one of the means for change. Jammeh wants you to believe otherwise. You will be doing great injustice to the Gambian opposition by castigating them and by unconsciously telling Gambians that elections are a waste of time and resources. That is what Jammeh wants you to tell people and you are doing just that for him.