Gambia 2016 Elections: A Do Or Die?

2016 is defining moment for mother Gambia

December 2016? An election? A Revolution? A Do or Die? A new president is a must?

There is a religious adage that says: When GOD decides to improve a situation; He makes it look like hopeless. We pray that to happen in the Gambia in 2016.

Will December 2016 be the year of freedom from 22 years of tyranny?

All indications lead to Gambians wanting to reclaim their lost freedom and dignity from Yaya Jammeh’s modern day slavery? The clock is ticking, the momentum is building up and hopes are high. Everyone is talking, there are agitations everywhere and the freedom word is on the lips of all Gambians at home and abroad. Unity is the catchword and the word exile needs to disappear from the Gambian vocabulary.
We have to cross the roadblocks. Roadblocks imposed by Yaya Jammeh on the opposition parties and the diaspora through draconian electoral laws, undemocratic laws and unfair rules. Roadblocks silencers imposed on the local media not to broadcast any message of the opposition parties. These roadblocks show clearly that the incumbent is uneasy, jittery and lacks self-confident. The president pushed us against the wall and no amount of intimidation can save him. Yaya Jammeh is a ruthless and arrogant provocateur of the highest order. He enjoys provoking Gambians, there is not a single sector of society that Yaya Jammeh did not deliberately aggress, provoke and humiliate. We should STOP Jammeh and show him the exit door.

There is not a single sector of the Gambian economy that Yaya Jammeh did not infiltrate and rake millions of dalasi therein. He has an interest in everything smelling money in the country. Over the years he has become the richest Gambian dishing out millions left right and center, displaying luxurious vehicles and building a new city for his enjoyment in Kanilai while being unaccountable to no one.

Of course when a president is guilty of too many crimes, he must barricade himself behind a fortress of heavy guns and draconian laws. Gambians will have to break these barriers to retrieve what belongs to us. Gambians have enough of Jammeh’s deliberate provocations, economic mess and arrogance. December 2016 is testing time for both Gambians and Yaya Jammeh. Power belongs to Gambian voters.
Clearly every sector of society is affected, the soldiers, the politicians, the journalists, government civil servants, the businessmen, the Imams, the women, the Christians and the youths even the imaginary witches are not spared by this idle, brutal and commander in thief.

Those that are closed to the dictator are the worst hit by his madness. Close aides, oderlies and cooks are running for their lives, civil servants wake up each morning not knowing what bad news awaits them, whiles the country brace up for the next executive directive. The bankrupt economy leaves no one at ease, not even the APRC militants, unemployment is rampant and salaries are stagnant. All these are enough ingredients that can lead to social explosion. The Gambia is a suffocating country to live in and if these tensions are not properly channel to peaceful electoral change the country can drift into havoc, GOD forbid.

A lot has taken place from 2011 to date. All government parastatals have been milked dry by the president, all of them are surviving on bank overdrafts and loans. The president misused a large amount of the pension funds at the SSHFC. The petroleum industry is own by the president and his partners. The only wheat flower mill in the country with a monopoly status is own by the president’s partners.
Only crumbs of the economy are left for 1.5 millions to scramble and survive on. Everything about Yaya Jammeh is about money, money and power.

Yaya Jammeh has accumulated so much money and abused power for so long, it’s more than high time for him to go.

Gambians should now brace up for the final push. Those who think elections cannot remove a president should rethink their position. A president cannot elect himself; it is the people that vote that get him elected. The voters are not forced to vote for any candidate at the polling booth; they are free to choose whom to vote for. This being the case, it behooves on Gambians in general, the diaspora in particular and the opposition parties to tell voters not to vote for Jammeh in this coming election.
Changing president depend on Gambians decision to vote him in or out. All that the opposition parties, the civil rights activists and the online media can do is, educate, campaign and tell Gambians not to prolong their suffering another five years under Jammeh and vote for the opposition. If the opposition fails to get into office in December 2016, it will be the fault of Gambians voters who do not want to change the president by the ballot. This is not fiction but facts. The opposition will do all they can; they will campaign vigorously to encourage voters to vote against Jammeh but if Gambians are not ready to change president hey! Gambian voters are to blame not the opposition.

Change is the hands of Gambian registered voters. Period.

Our biggest enemy is discouraging each other. Our best chances are encouraging each other to go vote massively against our common enemy.
2016 can be the turning point if we the Gambian voters are ready for change.

Thank you.
Deyda Haidara



  1. Brother Hydara…when you talk like this, you have Bax’s 100% agreement…Well, except exempting the opposition from blame…

    I do think that they should collectively shoulder part of the blame of failure, if they fail to rally behind a single candidate; not necessarily a single party, though that will be the next best option…

    Otherwise, I agree with you 100% for a well written piece that should be adopted as our “battle cry”:- DO OR DIE, A NEW PRESIDENT IS A MUST IN 2016..”

  2. The last part of the article felt a bit strange to me. Putting blame squarely on the voters should the incumbent persist, is simplistic. I think it is a shared responsibility between the voters and the opposition. The opposition are obliged to take serious steps in other to seize the opportunity presented as a result of poverty and delusion in the country. The voters are ready to jump into the bandwagon but of course only if they see a winning formula presented.
    To me, this include among many, settling the flagbearer question in the UDP before it becomes an internal scuffle and a poisoning acrimony within the ranks. Secondly a MOU among the opposition parties to work together for a coalition or a Simple recognition of one another and refraining from any slander on co-opposition fellows. Thirdly, kick-start now the fundraising near and far.

    • Excellent piece Deyda. Keep it up. Kinteh, UDP candidature is not any urgent matter for us. Lawyer Darboe is our secretary general and party leader. And we will keep it that way and fight for reform. We are in no hurry to put our candidate forward.
      Unless reforms fail why should we name a candidate now? Lawyer Darboe if the situation persist will tour with our candidate whilst remaining the party leader. Stop the imaginary scuffle talk. UDP is more focus today than ever. Thanks

      • Hassan, speaking of urgency. I think it is the one word which may characterise our this very exchange. Of course if Mr. Darboe is legible to stand in the next election, I have no reason to compel the party to select a new flagbearer. But factually Mr. Darboe is barred by a botched constitution – albeit in place- from contesting. Here in comes the necessity and urgency to initiate a selection process with a goal of finding a suitable person in a timely manner. So that that person also has ample time to familiarise with the electorate.
        Urgency because you wait to late, then you unnecessarily create stress in the end- in this case should aspired reforms do not materialise.

        Call of caution : history has thought us that the transfer of leadership from one person to another person can be very messy and so often ends in bloodletting. Gambia, at national level, had it own missed opportunity in 1992 at the legendary mansakonko meeting. We are also trying to uproot someone who is refusing to leave. UDP is not immune to this problem if it does not initiate visible steps to ensure amicable transition of flagbearer is realised timely. No doubt or reservations about Darboe staying as a party head.

        Finally, fundraising is a crucial part of the whole endeavour and must kick-start in earnest.

      • Lafia Touray la Manju

        I agree. Lawyer Darboe is our leader. Period!

      • Personal views expressed in informal discourse are not the official formal party (an entity) position.

        His opinion is personal and likewise yours of which everyone is entitled to!

  3. Mr Hydara, I’m with you all the way. Gambian voters must know that the country is in their hands; that failure to utilize their vote to change their destiny, they have no one to blame but themselves. Those whose cards are lost or spoiled should go get it replaced. Hundred dalasi is big but not bigger than freedom. The everyday loss in a dying economy cannot be compared to one hundred dalasi. We must encourage our parties to come together as a single entity with a single flagbearer to dislodge the incumbent. The people must not be left behind in this process. They must be involved every step of the way.

  4. Once again I commend you, my brother D.H., for nailing the truth. The opposition is strenuously working under an extremely hostile environment and those who accuse them of being the problem are myopic in their analysis. Some are even vigorously and openly advocating for, i). voter apathy by way of advising non-registration to vote in the first place, and, ii). discouraging financial and/or material support to the opposition. I consider both advocates to be (at their best) irrational and insensitive to the plight of The Gambian people and (at worst) involuntary enablers and facilitators for Jammeh’s victory. Arguments predicated on opposition unity before funding, and, U.D.P. must come out with the party’s flag bearer or else it a lost game are all unproductive moves that (if they get sold) will deflate the exuberance and enthusiasm thereby stifling the opposition gains on the ground.
    The diaspora and the on-line media should concentrate their energy and efforts on two areas; i). Raising funds for the opposition, and ii). Supporting and extending the argument for electoral reform (initiated by the G-6) that also includes the right for the diaspora citizens to vote.
    We can criticize the opposition but not tear them to pieces.

  5. Hi Deyda, thank you for solidifying your argument that Gambian voters have a bigger responsibility to register and vote against Yaya Jammeh to end their suffering and humiliation. The oppositions also have responsibility to work together and give every reasons for Gambians to vote for them. I do agreed with you that this elections coming in December 2, 2016 is a do or die for Gambia because of the abuse of power, and the total mismanagement of the economy. Therefore, it is the responsible of all patriotic Gambians to work together for the removal of dictator Yaya Jammeh from power peacefully.

  6. Very good article . You are very right about the responsibility of Gambian people to change their situation . There will be no foreign power to help us . This is our fight . This is our own creation . We have to unite and throw away of our individual political ideology . The picture on top of this article say it all . Every Gambian should use our national flag in our gathering of unity so that we can all understand our strength lies in our unity and see that Gambia is bigger than any one of us . Our national flag should be our Symbol in national discussion . Today if our opposition leaders come together , they should all put on our national flag as a Symbol of our unity . If there should be Massive demonstration or protest , every one should have our national flag on . This is how great revolution takes place . Example when everyone put on national flag during protest , it will send a clear message to the oppressor and his forces that we too are Gambians , this can enable even the police force and military to switch side without any harm to civilians . It will also send the same clear message to international community that Gambian people are united to solve their problem .

  7. Thank you all for your encouragements and comments. I will keep it coming until election day Inshallah. Gambians have never discovered the power of their voting cards since independence in 1965. Hopefully this coming elections will be the first democratic change of president in the Gambia.
    Thank you.