Some Gambians feeling scared under Yahya Jammeh’s 22 year grip on power say Thursday’s presidential election is an opportunity for the birth of a new Gambia.
“He’s a murderer, he killed dozens of our brothers, he’s a killer,” a Gambian youth shouted from a crowd.Feou Cham, a business woman, 51, said “We don’t have our own freedom, you cannot have freedom of speech. You cannot talk on your own.”
Lamin Barrow, 29, who works in a hotel finds it difficult to cope under Yahya Jammeh.
“My hope for this election is for this man to go down because we are living in dictatorship for 22 years so enough is enough, “ he said.
The opportunity to protest was considered by Yahya Jammeh as a period of grace during the electoral campaign. The incumbent is not ready to tolerate any protests after voting on Thursday.
“Here you go and demonstrate in court that is you take the matter to court. That is what we know. We will not allow your demonstrations because those are the loopholes used to destabilise African countries,” Jammeh told reporters.
Considering Jammeh’s tight control of state resources, including the military and the police and his reluctance to relinquish power, many observers hold that only a political miracle can make an opposition victory possible.
Yahya Jammeh remains confident: “Nothing is going to happen. This is not the first time we are organising elections. They will not win.”Frustrations in Gambia for months now, have been linked to economic difficulties and the systematic repression of dissident voices who are increasingly expressing themselves nowadays.
Close to 900.000 Gambians have registered to vote in Thursday’s presidential election.