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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.

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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