Plans to make president Jammeh a king has been finally made public after months of underground work by the ruling APRC party stalwarts led by local chiefs.
This was unveiled at statehouse on Friday during a meeting claimed to be summoned by president Jammeh to discuss extending the death sentence – from murder and treason - to offences of drugs and human trafficking.
In attendance at the meeting were ministers, ruling party National Assembly members, local government authorities, local chiefs, , religious leaders and his party bigwigs.
But the meeting, which was designed to dilate on death sentence in the wake of the rising crime rate, witnessed an obvious shift to unmasking plans to transform The Republic of The Gambia into a Kingdom.
The agenda was set by Jammeh himself as he expressed outrage at ‘troubles elections created in Africa’.
“We all know the problems elections have created in Africa; the problem in Somalia is caused by elections and in many other countries. “Nearer [to home] in Guinea, people of different tribes are killing one another because of elections,” he said.
As the country prepares to embark on a circle of elections – presidential, parliamentary and local government in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively, Jammeh said people will vote so long as the constitution dictates.
“But it is left to you [Gambians]; whatever you decide is what we will do,” he said of the no election campaign
The campaigns for no elections and to crown president Jammeh as King have been in the rumour mill for some time now.
The local chiefs who are reportedly pushing the agenda forward have recently toured the whole country after president Jammeh donated vehicles to them, sources revealed.
However, the Independent Electoral Commission has condemned the move.
“The campaign for no elections is a non-starter and should be discouraged in all its forms,” IEC said, at the recently concluded outreach for National Assembly members, where it was hinted.
Hon. Fabakary T. Jatta, the majority leader of parliament has been warned of contempt of the constitution for saying that the secret ballot is the highest form of hypocrisy.
Undeterred by this warning, Hon. Jatta said at Saturday’s meeting: “I said it once and I am repeating it here that elections, especially the secret ballot is hypocrisy.”
“Even if it happens that we go to the polls 2011, it might as well be the last election [for The Gambia]” Jatta said.
The governor of North Bank Region Edwar Seckan said chiefs have approached them to make Jammeh a king and they have agreed.
“The constitution is neither the Quran nor the Bible,” says Alhagie Demba Manneh from rural-Lower River region. “We want to make president Jammeh a King and we will amend it to suit our needs.”
President Jammeh came to power through a military coup in 1994 putting an end to the thirty-year-rule of Dawda Kairaba Jawara, who was re-elected in office 5 times after Independence in 1965.
All political parties and political activities were banned during the two year transition period in the run-up to a return to a democratic civilian government.
The presidential elections held in 1996 saw Jammeh winning with 56 percent of the votes and captured the majority of seats in the legislative elections held in 1997.
Although he dropped to 53 percent of votes in the 2001 presidential elections, he was able to secure a virtual monopoly at the National Assembly after the main-opposition UDP boycotted the elections amid cries of foul play.
In 2006, president Jammeh won 67 of the votes and his party maintained a strong majority in the National Assembly.
Although some local and foreign election observers deemed the elections free, fair and transparent, there were reports of unfair play and the opposition maintained that there has never been a level playing ground for free and fair elections.
Meanwhile voter apathy has been phenomenally increasing at a worrying rate as over 50 percent of registered voters failed to cast their votes during the 2006 presidential elections.
Source: Kissi Mansa
Source: Kissi Mansa