Gambia: Opposition highlights electoral bias, apologize to Senegal

By Sanna Camara

At a press conference held yesterday in Dakar, Mai Ahmad Fatty, leader of Gambia’s oosition Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) spoke of electoral bias institutionalised by President Yahya Jammeh that ensures his victory at the polls.

Mai 01

“The Gambia uses marble voting system that has outlived its times…. Marbles that no one knows where they are manufactured, who manufactured them and where they are hidden.

“What we know is that the president orders them for the electoral commission,” he told a packed hall of reporters, dignitaries and political party representatives of Senegal and GMC party supporters that bursts into laughter as he explains this.

No access to state media

“As a party leader, I can vouch that this is the fourth year since I last appeared on television in The Gambia, just like the rest of opposition leaders,” said Mr. Fatty.

In a country where there is only one, state-controlled national television that dedicates majority of its air time showing images of the president and his activities, opposition leaders are banned from appearing on national TV to speak their minds on issues.

Mr Fatty highlights that until election campaigns, where a five minute slot is allocated to each opposition party to broadcast programmes, they have also been denied access to radios, as numerous are they are spread throughout the country.

Mai 3

‘We have been fighting…’

“In fact, the population has been disallowed the chance of establishing private television channels, which could have ensured access to, and coverage of opposition leaders and their activities,” Mr. Fatty said, noting it is another reason why it is impossible to defeat Jammeh at polls in The Gambia.

“It is not that we [the opposition] have not fought against Jammeh, we did. But it is an unfair fight as he controls the security forces which he deploys against anyone who dares to stand against him,” Mr Fatty said.

Very un-Gambian to insult leaders

The conference, based on the theme “Building special relationship between Gambia and Senegal” also witnessed the GMC leader apologising to the Senegalese population, about “insults” heaped on their leaders by President Jammeh during his recently-concluded tour of the country.

Awardees

“It is very un-Gambian, and against the Gambian culture in every sense, for anyone to conduct himself in such a way against a country and its leaders, especially not between Senegal and The Gambia,” Mr. Fatty stated, arguing that it also explains why President Jammeh is a problem not just for Gambia but Senegal as well.

GMC leader also gave awards to Presidents Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade for their efforts in supporting Gambia in all ways possible, and another to the European Union for their support to the development of The Gambia.

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