Re: Diaspora Gambians Stop Dictator’s Re-election

JammehBy Maxs

I think it is false claim to indicate that [Gambian] diaspora is helping Jammeh to win next election based on assumption that those who believe that “the election is not going to remove Jammeh from power.” The assertion that election will remove Jammeh from power based on a single factor which Mr Bojang highlighted; that is reduction or absence of foreign voters who are mostly Jolas from Cassamance is not feasible and realistic based on history of military dictatorship as well as current political environment except the following factors below which I think would be helpful to ensure electoral victory. I do not believe that the diaspora is helping Jammeh to win next election, on the contrary the diaspora is doing every thing possible to get rid of Jammeh. Diaspora is the biggest obstacle to Jammeh’s presidency because they help to expose his brutality, criminality, human rights abuses, corruption and mismanagement of Gambian economy.

There are many factors which are essential for effective opposition electoral victory in 2016 if the opposition are united and choose a leader who is ready to sacrifice his life for Gambian people as well as he has both national and international recognition.

These factors include:

  1. Border regulation will help control the influx of these foreigners who are mostly Jolas from Cassamance. This is the area you have based your article on. This can be done with the help of Senegalese government and its security forces to effectively seal the border. It is highly possible that Senegalese security forces can effectively help to secure the southern border based on recent developments between the two countries as well as Jammeh’s involvement in Casamance rebellion. I do agree with you on that speculation. The Senegalese government and the people of the entire region are sick and tired of our idiotic evil dictator. It is in the interest of the Senegalese people to see him gone forever so that we can have regional peace and stability as well as economic progress and brotherly relationship that has previously existed between the two countries.

  2. Neutral security forces in the pre-election, during and post election is very essential to have free and fair elections and to ensure peace and stability. Based on past elections, it is almost impossible to have such impartial security forces in The Gambia. It was because of the security forces’ intimidation, harassment and threat that ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] has declared that 2011 election was not going to be free and fair which led to cancellation of their observatory role in that election. Has the security situation change or do we have indications that intimidation, threat and harassment is not going to happen this time around? The flat answer is no. The Dictator is in control of security forces. The only way for jammeh to loose control is to have united opposition front who are ready to sacrifice their lives to lead with the support of the majority who are also willing to die with them. In other words, the opposition leaders and their supporters should be ready for confrontation and stand their ground to ensure that their is level playing field in the whole election process and not to subdue to threat and intimidation.

  3. Equal access to state media and all private media must be allowed to operate freely if the opposition is to have any chance for effective electoral victory. Historically this has never been the case in The Gambia. Dictator Jammeh and and his regime has total control and manipulation of the media which makes it extremely hard for the opposition to propagate their message. The solution to this problem is grassroots campaign as UDP is doing and also to encourage more community radios to air opposition political messages which includes their policies and highlight the dictatorship in the country. I doubt Jammeh and IEC will allow that happen in The Gambia.

  4. Resignation of Independent Election Commission Chairman and selection of new members to ensure free and gaur election. These new members should have the support and confidence of opposition leaders. If such scenario do not happen, then the opposition united front must have strong and united leadership which should confront and challenge their conduct such as bias, rig election results and unfair treatment. They should call for massive demonstration or protest which will give them the opportunity to have the support of international community because few people might lost their lives or get arrested in the process. In such scenario, there would be call to form government of national unity or Jammeh to step down. I doubt again if we have such opposition leadership who are ready to sacrifice and are totally united.

  5. Diaspora should provide significant financial support to the opposition United Front and also engage in messaging of opposition policies, programmes and exposure of current military dictatorship. Each and every Gambian who are opposition sympathizer and supporters should be encouraged to call their families to vote for the United Opposition. This is the area I think diaspora can play huge role to ensure victory.

  6. Gambia Bar Association and independent Gambian lawyers should be on stand by if there is needs to challenge the result at high court. Gambian legal minded individuals should put their effort behind the opposition United Front to ensure victory. The problem with legal community is that we do not independent judiciary system in The Gambia because most of the judges and lawyers are foreign machinery corrupt judges who are on jammeh’s payroll. Therefore such scenario is almost non-existence in The Gambia.

The vote apathy is minor issue to solve our current problems when you consider all the factors listed above. Looking at past military dictatorship in Africa and other parts of the world, it is extremely difficult or near impossible to remove military through election. For 21 years jammeh has consolidated himself in power and I think the best case scenario to defeat him which opposition leaders don’t want to do is through United opposition confrontation in the form of massive demonstration or protest as it was done in Burkina Faso. This is why a mere election will not remove jammeh from unless people’s are ready to die for our country and are United. Until then I believe every options should be used to get rid of jammeh including combination of election and massive demonstration, popular uprising and military intervention.



  1. Deyda Hydara

    Max; it is easy to ask people to go and die, die die and sacrifice their lives in your write up but are you yourself ready to die to remove Jammeh? Lol. It is easier said than done.
    You mentioned Burkina Faso as example but fail to say that Blaise Compaore had no more legal right to stand for election and was trying to change the constitution again for the second time. The first change of mandate in Burkina was from limitless term to two term which took place in 2004 brokered by the Mossi King Mogbo Naba to apease the tensions in the country. Blaise agreed and institute the two terms in 2004 hence peace prevail. Now the same Blaise in 2014 wanted again to change the constitution back to limitless terms hence the inssurection and his running away from the country.
    This is not the case with Jammeh, the limitless terms of the presidency has been there since day one in 1996. Making insurrection or demonstration illegal in the case of Jammeh.
    The only justifiable case for insurrection in the Gambia is when the opposition wins and Jammmeh refuses to go, then Gambians are in a ligitimate cause to insurrect and chase Jammeh out of office.

  2. This is what I always tell Max here in this forum. It is easier said that Gambians should be ready to die. But in reality, this is nothing more than adventurism especially if the one making such calls had already ran away and is hiding behind a pen name in an online forum.

    It is good to sacrifice your life if that would yield better results either by eliminating your suffering or bring betterment to the family you leave behind and the country at large.

    Maybe Max need to be reminded that ever since the very first day Yahya emerged into our political landscape, Gambians have been sacrificing their lives and everything that they have. Yet the only same result that emerges is they are killed only leaving their families to suffer with the rest of the population sitting indifferently at home.

    Max need to remember the likes of Lt Basiru Barrow, Koto Ceesay, Almamo Manneh, April 10/11, Deyda Hydara, Dana Marena, etc all lost their lives gallantly honourably for this country and her people. Yet, no one is willing to come together to follow on.

    The opposition leaders are doing the right thing never to call the ple to the streets. Because the end result would only mean them dying and become history when the likes of Max would remain hidden under a pen name.

    Recall when the July 22nd boys attempted on Darboe’s life on the Chameng bridge in 2001, it became a necessity to defend themselves. 1 aprc supporter lost his life in the fight. Has such situation ever repeated to warrant a life sacrifice? No Max. The gallant and professional police commander who investigated and honestly reported the facts was dismissed and remained unemployed for about 6 yrs. Did Max and his likes got up in his defence, no. After the killing in the 2006 coup, this editor reported the stories with professionalism and courage, he was tortured and his paper closed to date, he had to leave the country to make a living. The ECOWAS court ruled in his favour. What did the dictator do about it, nil. The likes of citizen FM Babucarr Gaye come to mind. Right now the young Teranga FM manager is in detention, what is Max doing about him, remain in hiding and writing with a pen name.

    In Guinea when Dadis Camara open fire on the opposition, the entire country got up. That gave the guards cause to eliminate him.

    Unless you come from your safe heaven and lead on the street, Gambians will 1st and foremost remain allegiant to their families before the country.

  3. Totally agree with you Max. There is no way a dictator will allow a free and fair election, there need to be serious reforms like you mentioned in your article for there to be one. APRC regime will never allow this, they’ve got a lot to lose.I felt the article by Mr Bojang is far too simplistic and bit naive.

  4. Hydara , the truth is that even in Burkina Faso , people died because the guy was not going to leave . In the case of The Gambia , the situation is even worst because jammeh didn’t listen to anybody and the constitution has no term limit but in the case of Burkina Faso at least their dictator listen to somebody who brokered peace . I am not personally asking anybody to die for our country , that is the choice of the people but if we are serious about removing a tyrant who has sacrifice his life to be in the statehouse , we must be willing to do the same . In every country where there is military dictatorship that is the consequences . Example in Nigeria , their opposition leader moshood Abiola was killed by the military before there could be democracy .they stole the election from him and he declared himself president ,he was arrested and imprisoned . Senegal where is democracy ,few people died when Wadda attempted to overstay.
    If you read Baba’s comments , he is also telling you almost the same thing , there must be collateral damage and all we should do is to minimize it . I don’t know of a single country in which there is military dictatorship and there is peaceful change of government .
    Removing jammeh is not like removing a democratic president . Jammeh knew his fate after presidency and therefore he would do anything to stay forever . I know he placed in very good security and these are trusted aides and tribesmen who are ready to defend him . The only way to overcome that is massive uprising during which there will be collateral damage . Personally , I do not see him going easy based on what I know about him.

    • Deyda Hydara

      Max, the Gambian situation is totally different from that of Burkina. In Burkina 100% of the national army and 100% of the Republican guards are all Burkinabe. When the going got though Colonel Zida the second in command of the RSG turn his gun on Blaise and stroke a deal with his superior General Diendiere to allow Blaise to be airlifted to Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire. When General Diendiere tried his coup d’état against the transitional government the regular army stepped in and crush it. Today General Diendiere is in jail waiting for trial. All of these people are 100% Burkinabe and no foreigner is involved.
      Now back home the Gambian army and the State guards are infested with Casamance Jolas who are there ONLY for Yaya Jammeh and not the constitution or the Gambian people. This is big a difference when analyzing the Gambian struggle which unfortunately many fail to factor in the foreign element when analyzing the Gambian situation. The only country I know which had a similar problem is Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi. Gadhafi brought in the Malian and Niger Touaregs into his army to oversee the regular Libyan army for over 30 years before his overthrow. (Remember Gadhafi’s mom is a Touareg from Mali). How did Gadhafi go? By armed struggle of course. The Gambia is in the same position as in Libya. Either we take up arms and fight Jammeh’s army or we try the peaceful election way and hope to win in the eyes of the world thereby giving us the legitimacy to insurrect honorably knowing that the world would not standby and watch Jammeh massacre people. World leaders will jump in when such a scenario happens after an election victory and will even mandate Senegal to intervene and calm the situation.
      Max, the Gambia has an extremely delicate problem that only thorough analyses and prudent measures can save us from Jammeh. The choice is yours, we either take up arms and fight Jammeh security forces, an eye for eye a life for life or we employ the election route and make sure Gambians vote massively against Jammeh whiles the International Observers are witness to our victory. When people cry victory and go in the streets to celebrate the Observers will be on the ground and Jammeh dares not touch a single Gambian hair in front of the International Observers. NEVER. He will run away.
      Think again Max.

  5. Gambia , I think you are misinterpreting my stand . I always belief that some Gambian will do the right thing no matter the situation is and they will suffer in the process . This is why we have seen many attempts since jammeh came to power and this will continue as long as he is in power .We must try everything possible even if some people will die , that is the fact . We shouldn’t discourage those who are doing the right thing for our country . As I told you last time , you have no idea what I am doing . Using a pen name doesn’t mean I am completely hidden in my efforts , it is a strategy so that the enemy may not know what I am planning or who I am . Using pseudonym is great benefit to me because it help me to get intelligence and I think you need to know that even greatest freedom fighter Nelson Mandela has once used pseudonym . Majority of information you get about this regime is send by people who used pseudonym . So please using my pen name to justify your argument is irrelevant .
    What I outlined in the article is the conditions for free and fair elections to ensure victory and consequences we should expect just like those youths in kartong faced the consequences of their protest. In USA , MLK faced the consequences so did Mandela of South Africa . That is my point . This was why I said we must sacrifice our lives to remove him . If you don’t want to do that , I respect your choice but it doesn’t mean I or someone shouldn’t try because there is consequences . Our opposition leadership should be aware of these consequences .

  6. I think Max has also made some very good observations in this piece, but my vote in this debate goes to Babucar Bojang, for the simple reason that his argument provides a more practical approach and hinges on “what we can do” to effect democratic change, rather than, “what should be done”, which seems to be Max’s line of argument..

    Jammeh is a man that we know is full of rhetoric and pomposity, and loves using language that sounds persuasive but, in actuality, lacks sincerity and meaningful content…

    His reliance on rhetoric is deliberately calculated and designed to create a certain perception in the minds of the people..If we are not to be his unwitting accomplices, we must avoid repeating credence to such baseless claims and utterances..

    This is why I agree with Babucar Bojang that repeating Jammeh’s claims that no election can remove him is counterproductive and amounts to serving as his propaganda tools…because that is reinforcing the very same perception he wants to create in our minds…

    The 2nd point of agreement with Babucar Bojang is his observation that there is a real potential and possiblyility to defeat Jammeh at the polls, if voter apathy can be combated….Voter apathy is a key battle that can shift the balance of elections, if it can be fought and won, regardless of what the skeptics think..

    Jammeh recognises the role that voter apathy plays in his continued domination of the polls and that is why he continues to make voting meaningless for those who don’t support him…He knows that his supporters will always go out to vote because his officials will.make sure of that…His treatment of security personnel, especially the state guards, who don’t show election thumb prints to proof voting is testimony that, contrary to his bluff, he is desperate for votes..

    So let’s not play his silly little games and instead, use all the available media at our disposal to end voter apathy and urge people to vote massively for the opposition..

    • Deyda Hydara

      Oh my GOD, Bax I agree with you one million percent.
      You said it all. You made my weekend knowing that there are THINKERS devoid of emotions amongst our mist.
      Thank you Bax. Have a great weekend.

  7. Bax , I will only agree with you that jammeh can be defeated if there is some changes in conditions /factors I highlighted above . I think it is also naive to think that jammeh can be defeated without United opposition leadership who are ready to put their lives on the line and be more confrontational . Even if jammeh didn’t win the election but he continue to declare himself president , don’t you think that there are two possible outcomes to that pronouncement.
    1. He will continue to rule despite not wining in which case the opposition cannot do nothing about it .
    2. The opposition United front can call for massive demonstration for him step down from power . In this scenario , there might be blood set and instability . International community will come to support opposition and even Senegal can send in military intervention force to ensure that jammeh is gone . I think this is best case scenario for Gambian to have their freedom .
    The option one above is possibility based on the conditions on the ground and also jammeh is unlikely going to handover power for any victory . Remember , in the first place Gambian people didn’t put jammeh in statehouse , he committed a criminal act which is treasonable crime to be a dictator .

  8. Max….

    Point (1)…The factors you outlined are almost all contained in the electoral reform proposals of the opposition parties, but there realisation is dependent on the ruling party, which has so far shown no inclination towards reforms…

    They are therefore out of our hands and though desirable, not a practical solution at the moment..

    Point (2)…Given the large number of registered voters who don’t go out to vote and who are most likely opposition sympathisers (because voter apathy is a sign of dissatisfaction of one sort or the other), electoral victory can still be achieved, if voter apathy can be combated..

    Point (3)…Dictatorships are not the only forms of government difficult to remove through elections…Generally, ruling parties in Africa are difficult to defeat at the polls because they entrench themselves by controlling everything…But it can be done and has been done before, so there is no reason why we can’t do it in The Gambia..

    Point (4)…Demonstrations are good but only if they have mass popular support to achieve specific goals, the moment, I do not think Gambian opposition see that as a realistic political strategy to advance their cause… So anyone who wants a demonstration must devise their own way to do it..Don’t wait for the opposition because they have no stomach for it..

    The Gambian opposition, unlike Dr King and Mandela, have an option that they can pursue to effect democratic change and we should support them..

    Point (5)…I do not think people should worry themselves about whether Jammeh will accept defeat and step down if he lost any elections…What we should worry about is whether voters will be convinced enough to vote for the opposition in a way that leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that Jammeh has indeed lost..

    I am 100% certain that when the opposition has a justifiable cause to believe that they have won the elections, no force in The Gambia can stop them from assuming that mandate…But the first huddle has to be crossed by getting the votes needed for the victory and that should begin with a collective all party strategy…

  9. Hydara , I absolutely agree with you about infestation our country security apparatus with cassamance rebels . Looking at jammeh’s regime , it is exactly a photocopy of Libyan Gaddafie’s regime in terms of its security arrangements . Jammeh has surrounded himself with his tribemen who are both Gambian and cassamance citizens . Today all the heads of the security such as , NIA , Army , police , state guard etc are all jolas And these people are not loyal to The Gambian people. So I very much agree with your excellent analysis about the regime security arrangements .

  10. Gambia, I join you in that conclusion, that unless the people feel that they won’t die in vain for us, family will continue to come first before country. The good news is that the Fass & recently Kartong has shown what solidarity – both physically present or funding from afar- can achieve. Instilling fear in people can only work if the perpetrator is convinced – through experience- that the people have no concern for their next kin.
    Going forward, as Burkinabe’s have demonstrated, no amount of weapon can stand in the way of people closing ranks saying enough is enough.
    Just look at the high-powered delegation they sent to kartong and the pleas for ‘calm’ and respect for our “culture of settling dispute” one minister after another was highlighting (Courtesy Foroyaa).

  11. Kinteh , whoever sacrifice to fight for our country felt that their sacrifice was not going to be in vain when they were alive ,therefore it doesn’t make any sense to indicate that ” unless people feel that they won’t die in vain for us , family will continue to come first before country “. If they know or feel their sacrifice is going to be in vain , they won’t sacrifice because nobody want to sacrifice for nothing. Those who sacrifice always felt that they did the right thing for the country and they put the country ahead of family while those who feel that their family interest is first before country , they usually do not tends to sacrifice for the country . One doesn’t have to be 100 percent sure you will achieve the goal of sacrifice during the process ( there should be belief of high degree of success ) but I think you have to feel that you are sacrificing fighting for the right thing . The appreciation, honor , pride , recognition of the consequences of the sacrifice should come from those who belief that you did the right thing and fair minded people will always honor the sacrifice either in the public or private. The problem we have is that majority think about their family first before the country , and that is why there is a lot of corruption , lawlessness , mismanagement , nepotism and so on . These negative vices are rampant. most people put their family interest first before country even when they know that what they are doing is not in the best interest of the country . Now the question is ” if everyone think of their family first before the country then who is going to sacrifice for the country because whatever capacity you are fighting for the country there is consequences ?” Or how are we going to ensure that everyone is treated fairly if we put our family first before the country ?

  12. Max , I don’t dispute that at the time of acting an act of national sacrifice, those who felt to act do with the full confident that what they doing is right. And it is right. My concern has to do with how we honour such people. It is forward-looking , admonishing that without a culture of honouring, it will be difficult to convince a broad section of the population to see the need for the sacrifice. Those who die in such noble causes, leave families behind who need our moral as well as financial support.
    Deyda Hydara is a good example of how quickly we forget. Today his one time newspaper is hijacked by editors, who – by the nature of his death – are obligated to upheld the highest standard of journalistic critical distance from a gov’t , that has woefully failed to bring to book those responsible for deyda’s killing. In the contrary, the editorial virtually ignore the plight of Teranga FM boss Ceesay a fellow journalist , merely reporting verbatim what the prosecution is saying about him.
    Like you , I believe that “the faithfull and the few” will not be dented by the lack of a honouring culture in our country , in the pursuit of a system from the people, by the people and for the Gambia.

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