As European Union election observers are banned from the country to monitor this December election, Gambian opposition coalition leadership must have contingency plan for post election challenges in place to ensure that the voices of vast majority of citizenry are respected and implemented. Anywhere in the world, Dictators never hand over power freely and voluntarily. Based on historical evidence of unwillingness of dictators to hand over power, there is no indication that Dictator Yaya Jammeh will be an exception to this rule. Our country and her citizens must be prepared for the worst case scenario; they must not rule out anything, including post election popular uprising which will result to Jammeh’s ultimate defeat and end of 22 years of military dictatorship. Gambian opposition coalition must first prepare itself for this possible scenario as well as continue to be united as a formidable force ready at all cost to represent the common interest and political voice of vast majority of citizenry.
As we speak, efforts must be made to contact international development partners such as ECOWAS, AU and United Nations agencies who are interested in democracy and rule of law so that they would be in better position to give immediate denunciation of rig election and support to opposition coalition if the opposition coalition becomes victorious.
Within each administrative region of the country, opposition coalition leaders must sensitize their local leaderships to prepare for any possible eventuality which might result to mass uprising of citizens against election irregularities or rigging of election results. The regime’s local authorities – chiefs , alkalos , district representatives and governors – must all be warned against efforts on their part to suppress the voices of the people.
Within the country, civil society organizations, trade unions and student organizations must all be prepared to take necessary actions to defend their constitutional responsibility and rights to prevent any rigging of election results or irregularities. Even ordinary Gambians have a stake here. We must all be prepared to give full support to ensure that our constitutional rights are respected and implemented.
We must engage our security service men and women of the Gambia Armed Forces , National Intelligence Agency agency, Gambia Police Force and other security services so that those patriotic citizens among them will be ready to protect and defend the rights of ordinary citizens. In order words, our national security apparatus must recognize that the voices of the majority must be respected at all cost and they shouldn’t allow themselves to be used against their fellow citizens to defend the personal interest of a dictator who has unleashed untold human rights atrocities in armless, defenseless citizens. The leadership of the armed forces must be warned before hand that they would face the wrath for committing any atrocities during post election uprising. The constitutional responsibility of our security services is to protect the lives and properties of citizenry – a message each of us should remind our security service men and women.
In preparation for any possible post election uprising and participatory democracy, the use of social media, mobile phones and other technological innovations must be encouraged to showcase the plight of citizens in their quest get back their lost democracy. All messages of relevance must be communicated across the world using various international media and social media channels available.
The role of the Gambian Diaspora is also crucial in all these. They must actively be involved in spreading the message of any human rights violations and election irregularities to the international community. Diaspora civil society organizations must also be prepared to contact international organizations, foreign powers, United Nations agencies, ECOWAS, European Union, state department of USA and African Union for any human rights violations, falsification of election results and identify key officials who oppress or help oppress Gambian citizens.
The chairman of independent electoral commission and his team must be warned by coalition leadership, civil society organizations and ordinary citizens that peace and security of the Gambia lies in their hands. Any corrupt practices in favor of the Jammeh military dictatorship will never be accepted.
The opposition coalition leadership must consult geniune and patriotic Gambian lawyers who are willing and ready to challenge the results in the Supreme Court of the Gambia in case of any irregularities and falsification of election results. The recruitment of highly seasoned lawyers and journalists must be done so that aspirations of Gambians and the common interest of the Gambian people are represented at national level. We need a robust and vibrant media to serve as a vehicle that carries voices of the people.
Every sector of the Gambian society must be prepared and ready for any eventuality in this election. The media, the Gambia Bar association, security services apparatus, religious leaders and civil society organizations must all be prepared and ready to give full support and allegiance to opposition coalition and its leadership. Removal of dictatorship is an insurmountable task that requires collective and partipatory efforts of all major forces. Gambians with financial muscles must also support the opposition coalition. T-Shirts symbolizing national unity such as national flag must be printed, distributed and worn across the country during the post election uprising. I believe this contingency plan will help salvage our country from 22 years of military dictatorship. If Jammeh decides to steal the election, we must prove him wrong that the Gambian belongs to her citizens and not a selfish, brutal and greedy dictator who looted our resources.