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Mali: New Year 2012 Greeting from Mayor El Hadj Moussa Mara of Yelema

Chers amis;

A l’orée de l’année 2012 et comme d’habitude il me plait de vous adresser mes voeux de bonheur, de prospérité, de réalisation individuelle mais surtout familiale et collective.

Prions tous le seigneur, notre créateur, Maître du temps et de l’espace, pour qu’il aide notre pays et notre continent, mais aussi toute l’humanité, à surmonter les tensions sociales, politiques et économiques et à avancer un peu plus vers la solidarité, le partage et le partenariat qui sont gages de progrès collectif.

L’année 2011 qui s’achève fut riche en evenements. Je pense que chacun d’entre nous a sa préférence en matière de fait marquant mais il est incontestable que nous avons tous été emballés par ce qu’on appèle desormais le “printemps arabe”, commencé en fin 2010 en Tunisie et qui a boulversé la donne socio politique dans de nombreux pays. Chacun s’est posé des questions, a douté pour ensuite espérer et constater que ce qui apparaissait au début comme un petit soulevement localisé s’est transformé en véritable torrent emportant beaucoup de pouvoirs qu’on pensait durablement installés. Le changement obtenu grâce à ces revolutions a ainsi consacré l’apparition de nouveaux pouvoirs, élus de manière démocratique, annonciateur d’un certain lendemain pour les pays concernés. Esperons que demain sera beau pour ces pays. Esperons qu’il le sera pour tous les autres!

La leçon fondamentale qu’il faut retenir du printemps arabe est qu’un peuple débout est irrésistible. Aucun pouvoir et aucune force ne peuvent resister à la volonté populaire. Les dirigeants d’aujourd’hui doivent intégrer cette donne et s’engager résolumment vers la satisfaction des besoins légitimes de leurs peuples, la seule vocation qu’ils doivent avoir. Ils doivent enfin se tourner vers leur raison d’être, la satisfaction du citoyen pour mériter sa confiance et la confiance du citoyen pour travailler avec lui dans l’édification de sociétés justes et prospère. Car sans la confiance du citoyen, aucune construction collective durable n’est possible. En Afrique sub saharienne, là où le peuple est encore ténu à l’écart de la gestion publique, là où il est infantilisé, manipulé, désinformé, diverti pour ne pas s’intéresser à son sort, cette confiance est encore plus indispensable à instaurer afin que les intelligences et la force physique des populations puissent accompagner les leaders, comblant ici où là les deficits financiers dans un contexte de pénurie de réssources. Plus qu’ailleurs nous avons bésoin d’ériger le peuple en partenaire. Plus qu’ailleurs nous avons bésoin de l’éclairer, de le former, de l’éduquer, de l’organiser pour qu’il puisse comprendre, s’engager, accompagner et jouer sa partition. Plus qu’ailleurs nous devons accepter la contrepartie de ce partenariat : l’exigence de résultat, l’obligation de rendre des comptes, la nécéssité pour le leader d’être exemplaire, la restauration de la transparence et de l’alternance comme ciments de l’édifice de confiance….

Les leaders et le personnel politique actuels sont ils capables d’accepter, de mettre en oeuvre et de soutenir cette contrepartie? Il faut en douter mais il faut travailler à l’amélioration de ce leadership et à l’accroissement de la qualité de ce personnel politique.

L’Afrique entière a besoin d’un accroissement de la qualité de son leadership. Cela passera sans doute par l’arrivée sur l’echiquier public de femmes et d’hommes capables d’engager nos pays vers le nouveau partenariat présenté dans les lignes précédentes. Je le disais deja l’année dernière en evoquant la crise ivoirienne qui a heureusement eu un denouement legitime.

Chers amis,

Notre pays, le Mali, comme plusieurs autres en Afrique, s’apprête à organiser en 2012 les 5è élections générales (Présidentielle et legislatives) pluralistes de son histoire democratique qui consacreront notamment la troisième alternance majeure dépuis 1992. Ces elections ancreront sans doute encore davantage le Mali dans la démocratie. Il est néammoins utile de rappeler que les élections, pour jouer pleinement leur rôle de catalyseur d’évolution democratique, doivent être organisées dans les meilleures conditions. L’équité entre les candidats, l’égalité entre les electeurs face au vote (carte d’électeur et pièce d’identité accessibles), un fichier électoral acceptable, une campagne basée sur les idées pour permettre un choix objectif des électeurs, des agents électoraux jouant éffectivement toutes leurs prérogatives, un Etat impartial dans l’organisation du dispositif, des acteurs de contrôle présents sur tout le territoire et objectifs dans leurs analyses et enfin un dispositif judiciaire impartial constituent le bréviaire d’élections apaisées.

Il est indispensable que les forces de la société civile, l’ensemble des acteurs politiques et l’Etat s’emploient à tendre vers cet idéal dans la bonne foi et avec la participation de tous les amis du Mali. Prions pour que cela soit et pour que tous les pays africains qui passent par cette étape electorale franchissent le seuil d’élections apaisées afin que plus jamais une élection ne puisse être un moment de tension mais seulement un processus normal de dévolution de pouvoir prélude à un renouveau. Que les élections fassent parti du quotidien afin de faire entrer plus profondement nos pays dans la normalité démocratique.

Prions pour que l’année 2012 se termine dans la paix et la quietude. Pour vous tous et pour tous les êtres qui vous sont chèrs.

Bien à vous tous.

Moussa MARA

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Something is still rotten in the state of Gambia. By Foday Samateh

Something is still rotten in the state of Gambia

By  Foday Samateh

Yahya Jammeh and his diehard supporters can slaughter hundred or thousand cows for a merry feast. They can throw all manner of sumptuous parties in all the seven regions of The Gambia for the fourth presidential election he had been declared the winner. All the celebration and chest-beating will not alter a damn truth about this drama of falsehood masqueraded as democratic election. Night will never be day and a cat will never be a dog no matter how many times the claim is made. So too a police state will never be a free nation by mere lip-service. This election, like the previous three, is nothing but a coup by the ballot box to renew the conferment of democratic legitimacy on a petty dictator.

The purported victory serves only one purpose. Further perpetuation of the status quo of a single man who is under the influence of messianic delusions and cheered on by a groveling troupe of mendacious loudmouths, gullible expendables, shameless opportunists, unprincipled apologists, flatterers for hire and happy know-nothings. The official
election result isn’t so much disappointing as it is offensive in that an avowed autocrat continues to exploit the democratic process to keep tightening his grip on power.

The supporters have two recurring defenses for the regime. The first is that Yahya Jammeh is a democratic president because the people voted for him. The people voted for Hitler too, but no one ever considered the Nazi madman to have been a democratic leader of Germany. Saddam and Mubarak had also won elections, but no one ever paid any credence to their landslides. The second is that he has brought transformational development to the country. Then why is The Gambia still sitting at the bottom rung of the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries in the UN development ranking index.
Put another way, in all the thirty years of the previous president, the national debt amounted to three billion dalasis. In seventeen years, this regime accumulated twenty-five billion dalasis in our name for some modest development. If Jawara had ever enriched himself in office, Yahya Jammeh has flamboyantly transformed himself from a destitute usurper to one of the wealthiest men in all Africa.

Yes, the regime has built schools as it should, but the annual West African Examination results show that the standard of education has deteriorated. The regime has built hospitals as it should, but the mortality rate hasn’t dropped a nick and life expectancy hasn’t improved a notch. The regime has built a television station, but only to turn it into a propaganda bureau to brainwash the nation into believing that we are blessed with a great leader endowed with divine powers. The regime established a university but deprived it of even a semblance of academic freedom for credible scientific research and critical debate on public policy and national affairs.

Too much is made of the regime’s vaunted developments; Schools, roads and hospitals are essential but very basic requirements for any modern nation-state. They have been built in both democracies and autocracies, by both transparent and corrupt governments across the world. The difference is not the physical presence of the structures but
the function they provide for the public good. Kim Jong-il of North Korea also built schools and hospitals and roads. Freedoms and democratic pluralism are the proudest boasts of civilized governments. Oppressive regimes everywhere justify their stranglehold as necessary for stability. The world knows the truth. Democracies are stable over the generations
while dictatorships hardly outlast a single regime. It says volumes about the state of the economy when remittances from citizens striving and scraping for a living in foreign countries constitute a major component of the GDP and every youth is desperate to travel elsewhere for opportunities.

Just about any head of state with average ambition can build schools, roads and hospitals. What sets Yahya Jammeh apart is his misplaced self-image as a man of destiny, gliding on the sweeping wave of history. Listening to him, an act of unbearable mental torture, one hears a jumble of crude vocabulary of a self-anointed republican, patriot, nationalist,
field marshal, prophet, genius, shaman and humanitarian. A breathing definition of a multiple personality disorder. He wants to impress upon his audience that he doesn’t only embody the dreams and spirit of the nation but attains a greatness so unique that it defies all categorizations and comparisons. That he is a one-off phenomenon in all the vestiges and vistas of time.

    Such blinding if not archaic hubris and heroic pretensions are quite familiar. Like all egomaniacs, he is the opposite of greatness. He is a petty, aggrieved, insecure, venal, paranoiac, pernicious, depraved, intolerant, crass, corrupt, deceptive, dishonest, avaricious, intemperate, dishonorable, untrustworthy, misinformed, semiliterate, inarticulate, thuggish, malcontent, violent, tribalist, lying little man. Someone needs to tell him that the Holy Quran is not for carrying around. The sacred Revelation is not a prop for
gimmicky display of piety. The Words of the Almighty are meant for recitation to acquire wisdom and guidance. If this ignoramus really knows how to read the Book of all books, he would be doing so every morning and night on national television and leading every Friday prayer at the State House mosque. Just like he is no professor or doctor of any sort, he is no sheikh. He is an empty pretender. A vain extrovert infected with infantile and fetish need for attention. From his overdressing, raving and ranting to uncouth mannerisms, the sane mind is conflicted over determining whether he is a scarecrow or clown with the keys to the highest office in the land.

    For whatever developments that will take place in the next five years if he stays in power, the following too will happen. More defenseless citizens will be rounded up and whisked to Mile Two Maximum Security Prison he called the “five-star hotel” for his enemies. The country will remain a “hell,” as he put it, for journalists until the last of them becomes his crowing praise-singer. He will own more businesses to amass more wealth to drive out competition for monopolistic control of the economy. He will further crush dissent, buy support and influence, and institutionalize patronage into the whole system for access and success to strengthen his clutch on power. He will further promote superstition over science and make new claims that he possesses “miracle cures” and herbal elixirs for more medical conditions. He will continue to court and befriend the endangered species of like-minded despots and unsavory
characters around the world. He will continue to run the affairs of the state like a Mafia boss of the underworld. He will pile up more debt on the nation, raise taxes ever higher, his regime will remain unaudited while a financial time bomb ticks for the country. For supporters and opponents alike, prepare for a painful reckoning when the lease of time for his
nefarious reign is up.

La-Guinea Ultimate Elections – 9/19/2010

La-Guinea Ultimate Elections – 9/19/2010

Campaigning has begun in earnest after a deferential lull in honor of Ramadan and eid’l Fitr.

The RPG party of Hon. Alpha Conde’ has obtained the support and alliance of some 90 other parties including those of Hons. Lansana Kouyate’, Lounceny Fall, Bah Ousmane, Mrs. Rougui Barry, Papa Koly Kourouma, and Mohamed Toure’. These alloyed parties have formed themselves into The Rainbow Alliance to elect Hon. Alpha Conde’ President of La-Guinea.

The UFDG party of Hon. Cellou Dalein Diallo has also obtained the support and alliance of some 40 other parties including those of Hons. Sidya Toure’, Ibrahima Abe Sylla, Mamadou Bah Baadicko, Mohamed Soumah, and Etienne Soropogui.

We recall that the first round of voting was marred by comprehensive fraud and other graft. La-Guinea’s “Independent” Electoral Commission (CENI) goes into this ultimate round of voting with her reputation thoroughly sullied. The results of the first round which put Hon cellou Dalein Diallo farther ahead of the pack with 43% of the vote had removed the votes of some four precincts which heavily favored Hon. Alpha Conde and the RPG. The reason for the exclusion of those votes was that the verbal attestations of some of the voters hadn’t been turned in to the CENI. They were later discovered in the office of Mr. Boubacarr Diallo of the CENI. Just a week ago, the La-Guinea courts found the President of the CENI, Ben Sekou Sylla, and Mr. Boubacarr Diallo guilty of spectacular fraud in the elections and they were sentenced to a year in prison, and fined 2 million Guinean francs each. Mr. Sylla had long since been replaced as president of the CENI and his sentence came while he sought medical treatment in France.

Because of these and many other inadequacies of the CENI, it has been decided that the country’s department of the interior and collectives (Matap) should play a more prominent and expanded role to keep the CENI’s excesses in check and to fill the voids of the latter’s deficiencies. That didn’t come easily because the UFDG claimed a constitutional ammendment was underway by the Prime Minister Jean Marie Dore’. The UFDG was to later yield for sobriety sakes.

The two presidential candidates visited Ouagadougou at the invitation of ECOWAS transition mediator President Blaise Compaore. They agreed to honor the results of a free, fair, and transparent elections for the second and ultimate round of voting. However, just days following the commencement of campaigning, several episodes of violence resulting in hundreds injured and one death made their way into the electoral discourse of La-Guinea. Interim President Sekouba Konate had to proclaim a suspension of campaign meetings until a safe environment can be re-installed by both parties and their alliances.

Today, we are informed that the convicted former President of ther CENI, Ben Sekou Sylla, has died in saint Louis hospital in Paris France. May the Lord afford him peaceful repose.

Gambia: Press Statement (detailed) of The UDP-led Alliance on the Nov. 24th, 2011 Presidential Elections

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE UDP/GMC UNITED ALLIANCE

IN REGARD TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2011

This Statement is a sequel to the Preliminary Statement issued by the UDP/GMC United Alliance in which we categorically rejected the results of the just concluded Presidential Elections as announced by the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission. We strongly reiterate our stand that the results of the said elections were bogus and fraudulent, and constitute a naked theft of the will of the people through the back door. It shall not stand!!

The UDP/GMC United Alliance insists that the electoral and electioneering processes, including the campaigning dynamics have been intentionally skewed in favour of the APRC to the gross disadvantage of the Alliance. These include the ten day campaign limitation period imposed by the IEC without any basis in law or in fact. The Elections Act makes no provision for limiting a campaign period to ten days. In previous presidential elections, although limited, the campaign period was way more than was permitted this time. Any sincere election Commission committed to the holding of a free and fair election would rather expand the campaign period than reduce it.

This unjustifiably crippling limitation was resisted by the Alliance at the material time before the conduct of the elections, but our concerns were rejected by the IEC without any justifications. Having been denied access to state media such as radio and television for the past five years, and having regard to the oppressive conditions under which the private media had to endure, the opposition was hardly heard during the pre-election period. In effect our stand is that the processes leading towards the elections were not free and fair. Therefore the results of such a fundamentally flawed process cannot receive our endorsement.

The ubiquitous presence of armed security, senior local government officials such as regional governors, district chiefs and Alkalolu and remorseless use of state resources cast enormous doubt and imposed a pernicious influence on the election. Threats were made, and intimidating messages were spread which had the pervasive effect of frightening voters. This was preceded by threats made by APRC Campaign Manager and Minister responsible for National Assembly Affairs that the ballot boxes and the biometric voter registration system were fitted with means of identifying those who voted against the APRC. Voters were warned during the campaign of consequences of voting against the APRC.

The election itself on poling day was severely marred by fundamental irregularities. In many polling stations, our polling agents were refused by IEC and security officials from accompanying the ballot boxes from the polling stations to the various counting centers. In the entire Upper River Region constituting seven constituencies, this denial was applied in all counting centers at the Region. The act of denying our agents to accompany ballot boxes was intended to commit foul play by tampering with the boxes in transit in favour of the APRC, without the possibility of detection. For instance in Jedda Two and Marakisa in the Kombo Central Constituency, voting cards were actually found in supposedly ballot boxes, which indicate how insecure they were. To insert a voter’s card in a ballot box, one would have to remove the box top itself, because the card could fit through the marble hole provided. This is positive proof that it was very easy to lift open the ballot boxes without tampering with the seals provided.

Extra voting marbles were found strewn all over some counting centers and we are in possession of some of those marbles picked up randomly by third parties two days after elections. Voting marbles were all supposed to be collected, placed back into ballot boxes and secured. This was not the case at many counting centers.

Our agents reported a pattern of simultaneous multiple token counting conducted at many counting centers across the country. In those instances, our agents were outnumbered and could not participate in most of the counting taking place. This made it possible for election officials in collusion with the APRC to compromise the integrity of the counting and collation processes. Tokens were removed from boxes in many of those centers, counted without the opportunity of verification accorded to our agents and certified by joint IEC/APRC counters.

In many of the counting centers, there were no proper lighting provided. In the case of St. Peter’s school, at Lamin, ballot boxes were indiscriminately scattered about in the court yard without adequate security, while the place itself was massively littered with APRC supporters and militants, and persons donned in security uniforms.

There has been widespread voting nationwide by uniformed persons, at polling stations where they were not registered or stationed. In Bakau Constituency, army officers led non uniformed recruits who were not on any elections assignments to vote at polling centers across that constituency, even though they were not registered as voters in that particular constituency. The UDP led Alliance Candidate himself intervened and reported the matter to the Returning Officer for Kanifing Municipality who dismissively asserted that he was under instructions to allow them to vote. The Chairman of the IEC was personally informed but before the situation could be arrested, most of these personnel were already permitted by to vote, although they had not right to vote at those polling centers. This pattern was seriously repeated nation-wide.

We are informed that police and military uniforms were indiscriminately provided to persons who were not serving members of any security establishment and these persons participated in securing and conveying ballot boxes of ballot boxes, and were active at polling and counting centers nationwide.

There has been a mass influx of non Gambian voters from outside The Gambia who were camped by the APRC at various sites such as the old Medical & Health Department in Banjul, Garba Jahumpa Upper Basic School in Banjul, Wander Beach Hotel, the Brikama Community Center, the NYSS premises in Bakau, and other places within West Coast Region and Kanifing Municipality. Gambian citizens would not normally be camped in such places, isolated from the rest of the public because every true Gambian citizen would vote and return to their family homes. Some of these places were disclosed to international observers, who went and verified for themselves.

The irregularities are fundamental and numerous. We are still in the process of evaluating more of such information and evidence from across the country.

Units of law enforcement personnel publicly displayed preference and bias for the ruling party during the campaigns. Credible information reaching us today lends veracity to this. Soldiers based at Lamin Koto conducted a so-called election victory celebration at Jerome Koto, while contingents of the Police Intervention Unit went on a victory celebrations at Kerr Ousman Boye, threatening local residents for supporting the UDP led Alliance.

Traditionally, election security and crowd control have been conducted by the Police Force in this country. But this time around, Gambians have been severely intimidated by the inexplicably heavy presence of the heavily armed soldiers in our streets, particularly in the capital city of Banjul, as if The Gambia was in a state of war. This had the intended effect of spreading and consolidating fear among the population to the benefit of the incumbent against the Alliance. The flagrant violation of the principle of neutrality by the security forces is additional affirmation of the lack of a level playing field and a fundamentally flawed electoral process. In this regard, the Independent Electoral Commission Chairman was seen on television welcoming the incumbent and leading him to vote.

The radio and television coverage provided by GRTS to the UDP/GMC Alliance was heavily censored, edited, watered down to produce the lowest possible effect, while half of our campaign rallies across the country were not even featured or broadcasted. Commentaries on GRTS were largely derogatory of our progress, while the APRC was accorded in extremely favourable light. The return of the incumbent was aired two days running each lasting over four hours. The UDP/GMC Alliance candidate was give only thirty minutes. Even then it was reportage from the GRTS correspondent with no pictures shown.

The UDP/GMC United Alliance is proud of the patriotism demonstrated by Gambians across the country. The Alliance is very appreciative of the legendary hospitality accorded to it by Gambians along the campaign trail and the tumultuous welcome received. To all those who hosted the Campaign, shared their resources with us, and gave us the best accommodation they could provide we say thank you.

To Gambian voters, we thank you for voting in your strong numbers for the UDP/GMC United Alliance. We assure you that your votes shall not go in vain. Together we shall vigorously defend the will of the people. Together we shall not relent in this effort.

The UDP/GMC United Alliance is equally appreciative of the tremendous contributions of Gambians in Diaspora, particularly those who have materially contributed towards the efforts in the campaigns. For the indomitable online Gambian press such as Maafanta.com, Freedom Newspaper, Senegambia News, The Gambia Echo, Gainako Online Newspaper, Hello Gambia, Jollof News and others, the list is unending. We are proud of you and your Nation is proud of you. Thank you for providing a veritable medium of expression for Gambians in such a manner denied to them in their own country. We assure you that we shall never give up on you, and we are confident that you shall not give up on us. Together, let us consolidate the partnership in the effort to enthrone genuine democratic plurality in our country, expand the democratic space, build a culture of tolerance and defeat those forces of oppression. Let us together continue to work harder to liberate our country. The struggle has just begun, and we must use every successive stage as a new beginning in the overall struggle for comprehensive political change in our national governance infrastructure. Another Gambia is possible. And together we shall build it.

Long Live the Republic of The Gambia!!

Long Live the UDP/GMC United Alliance!

UDP Secretariat

Banjul, The Gambia

Dated at Banjul, this 28th day of November 2011.

Gambia: Nov. 24th, 2011 Presidential Elections. What Happened?

We have once again been treated to a marvel of an election, this time with Yahya gaining an average of 70% in all constituencies, even the traditionally secure strongholds of Kiangs, Jarras, Wullis, Kombos, Nianis, and Sandu. This while in the duration between 2006 and 2011, arms and amunition coming from Iran and destined for Kanilai were intercepted in a Nigerian Port, a billion dollar’s worth of cocaine was found in Bonto riverside village resulting in a Dutch citizen’s murder, Assets of Pristine Consulting Biometric registration were confiscated and impounded upon, the Gamcotrap-2 have been illegally arrested and are still being gratuitously prosecuted, Yahya’s relationship with his friend Chavez of Venezuela is on the rocks for the former’s antics against his former friend Gadhafi to save his own hyde, Baba Jobe was murdered to dispense with potential witnesses to the Sierra-Leone-Liberia Blood Diamond saga, and Yahya and his wife’ss implication in the assassination attempt on the life of La-Guinea President Alpha Conde’.

As in 2006, 2001, and 1996, The Gambia’s voter rolls include citizens of Senegal particularly from the region of Cassamance where the rearguard of Yahya’s Kanilai enclave hails from. On occasion, these illegal voters were housed at The University of Gambia and some have been intercepted in the southern border region between Senegal and Gambia.

Yahya has total control of state resources to include the national television and radio which he uses to the stealthy exclusion of opposition messaging and campaign. On several occasions, the national radio and television station refused to broadcast meeting advertisements of the opposition political parties and the inspector of police refused to grant permit for the conduct of opposition rallies. On one such occasion when the opposition United Democratic Party held a meeting without a permit, an officer of the UDP, Hon. Femi Peters was arrested and remanded in prison for using a loudspeaker and leading a public procession. In the runup to the election, the opposition parties were allowed 11 days of public campaigning while Yahya has been campaigning for 5 years. Public officials, including Seyfolu and Alkalolu, used their state vehicles, fuel, and other logistical resources to openly campaign for Yahya and his APRC gang.

Prior to election day, bands of the Green boys and girls groups went on an intimidation campaign to inform would-be opposition voters that hidden cameras were installed in the voting booths to survey how voters voted and that those who vote for the opposition parties would be found out and dealt with after Yahya’s foregone win.

On election day itself, voting marbles were issued to both illegally registered voters and unregistered voters.

On election day, labels were removed from ballots and re-labelled according to weight and improper labels attached. All the while, opposition representatives were prevented from monitoring the ballot totes/drums until the deed is done.

Friends, Gambians, and countrymen/women, this was the manner of your election on November 24th, 2011.

The GDP Team.

The Clearest Choice for Gambia in Election 2011

The Clearest Choice for Gambia in Election 2011

By former Magistrate Hon. Lamin J. Darbo
As the sun went down on the campaign period, and Gambia embraces the very eve of Election 2011, the clearest and most compelling choice for president on November 24 is Ousainu N Darboe (Ousainu) of the UDP and allied parties.
That Gambians are now full adherents of the political view that “enough is enough” is clear and palpable. And even whereas the government of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Doctor Yahya A J J Jammeh (the Professor) must have recognised this changing national mood as evidenced by recent reports of verbal attacks on Freedom Radio and its iconoclastic Editor-cum-presenter by higher echelon APRC stalwarts at campaign meetings, this  suggests the ‘no criticism’ mentality so endemic in the current establishment persists. Our nation cannot heal its deep wounds in that kind of governance climate, and genuine national healing is what we are in most need of.
The man for that task and for comprehensive national development in peace is Ousainu.
An accomplished Barrister and human rights advocate committed to a public space anchored in institutionalism and the rule of law, Ousainu has the wherewithal to usher in the requisite sanity imperative to averting the crisis of internal stability that stares Gambia in the face due mainly to the lawless propensities of the current government.
What is my evidence Ousainu will accord due fidelity to institutionalism and the rule of law?
In a two-hour dedicated conversation on political matters some two years ago in London, I asked Ousainu why he failed to grab one of the international opportunities that came his way over the years. In characteristic humility and consideration for others, he told me his leadership of the UDP caused untold suffering – arrests, detentions, disappearances, even death – for Gambian citizens. He will not walk away from those who suffered on his account in the difficult project of decapitating public lawlessness in Gambia.
I am also fully convinced that notwithstanding failure in attaining total opposition unity in this year’s presidential contest, Ousainu fulfilled his promise to reach out to other opposition leaders with a view to crafting a united front against the Professor this year.
With neither inclination nor capacity, Ousainu will not divide Gambia along any partisan lines. He will not arrest, detain, or incarcerate any citizen, or resident, of the Gambia outside the ambit of law. He will never torture, abduct, or disappear any citizen, or resident, of the Gambia. That is the development Gambia requires, the development that ensures our territorial integrity is not compromised by the cannibalism inherent in civil conflict.
I join my friend Yero (Dalton) Jallow of Gainako Online Newspaper and other neutrals who, with inspirational erudition, made a cogent case for a UDP-led united front against the APRC. Here I recall the pleas of Gambians like Mathew K Jallow, Momodou B Krubally, Prince Obrien Coker, Professor Abdoulie Saine, Foday Samateh, and others.
As you make your final calls tonight and tomorrow morning to those in homeland dearest with whom you have some influence, please remind them a vote other than for Ousainu will be a wasted vote on November 24.
By voting Ousainu, you and your family and friends are participating in the creation of a Gambia anchored not only in law and institutions, but a Gambia where the protection of human dignity is the highest practical value.
Ousainu N Darboe for president on November 24!
Long live the Gambia our homeland
Lamin J Darbo