Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Mixed reactions as Gambians vote in presidential election

A woman looks on as she waits in line to caste his vote in a market in the Manjai Kunda neighbourhood in Banjul on December 4, 2021.   -  
Copyright © africanews
JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


Gambians are hoping for the best in Saturday’s Presidential election with some of them praising the current state of the nation while some showing discontent.

One voter said, "this man [President Adama Barrow] I want him to go out because Gambian people suffer. It is expensive, anything is expensive."

Another voter told AFP news agency, "it is my civil right to vote and then to identify who is going to lead me for the next five years."

Some also praised the current president's tenure saying it was more transparent than the previous.

"In terms of freedom of expression, it is better now. Before it is not. But at the time of the [former] election, the election will be conducted normally, but after, counting and whatever happens later, that is always a problem," a voter said.

"It is very important to vote. Because your vote is your voice, so it is very important to vote. I am appealing for every Gambian to come out and vote," another voter said.

The vote involved the use of marbles placed in each candidates’ ballot box, a system that indicates the low literacy level in the tiny west African nation.

President Barrow, 56, is now running for re-election and faces five other candidates.

Questions over Jammeh's continuing role in politics, and his possible return from exile, have been central themes in the run-up to the election.

The ex-autocrat was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after Adama Barrow, then a relative unknown defeated him at the ballot box.

The voting will be closely watched as a test of the democratic transition in The Gambia, where Jammeh ruled for 22 years after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1994.

President Barrow, 56, is now running for re-election and faces five other candidates.

Polls opened at 8 am (0800 GMT), with long lines forming well before dawn in the capital Banjul.

Many voters in the nation of more than two million people are hoping for an improvement in their living standards.

The Gambia, a sliver of a land about 480 kilometres (300 miles) long, which is surrounded by Senegal, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

About half of the population live on less than $1.90 per day, the World Bank says.

The tourism-dependent economy in the former British colony was also dealt a severe blow by the Covid-19 pandemic.

View more