Gambia’s incumbent President Yahya Jammeh is bent on securing a fifth term as president since he assumed office 22 years ago, while two opposition leaders are poised on unseating him.
Adama Barrow and Mamma Kandeh are campaigning hard to win the votes of 886,578 electorates at 1,422 polling stations in 53 constituencies in the seven administrative regions of the country.
Below are profiles of the three candidates, who share the same age and are keen on being elected the next president of Gambia on December 1, 2016.
President since 1996, Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh seized power in a bloodless coup in 1994 as a young 29-year-old Second Lieutenant in the Gambian National Army.
His reasons were corruption and lack of democracy under the country’s first president Dawda Jawara who had ruled since 1970 to 1994.
Jammeh founded his party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, and won the 1996 election.
He subsequently won the 2001, 2006 and 2011 elections with 53%, 67.3% and 72% of the vote respectively.
Now 51-year-old Yahya Jammeh wants to continue his vision of transforming The Gambia into a “financial centre, a tourist paradise, a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population and guaranteeing a well-balanced eco- system and a decent standard of living for one and all under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry.”
Adama Barrow is a businessman and former leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), elected by seven opposition parties in The Gambia to lead the coalition to unseat President Yahya Jammeh.
The coalition includes the country’s first ever female presidential aspirant Isatou Touray who couldn’t run due to her loss to Barrow.
51-year-old Barrow lost a 2007 National Assembly election to another presidential candidate Mamma Kandeh, but hopes to win the presidential election to “bring an end to dictatorship in The Gambia”.
Mamma Kandeh is a former member of Yahya Jammeh’s party, expelled in April 2013 from the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) for reasons not clearly explained.
He was a member of the Pan-African Parliament and Gambia’s National Assembly member under the APRC.
51-year-old Kandeh is now the leader of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress party (GDC) and hopes to be the president of The Gambia after December 1.