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Tens of thousands of people crammed onto Gambia's tiny island capital Banjul on Saturday as President Yahya Jammeh threw a massive beach party to celebrate his re-election for a third term. The authoritarian leader was declared the winner of Friday's poll with 67.33 percent of votes cast across the tiny West African nation. 

"My priority is to make this country the best in the world," Jammeh said as thousands of his supporters swarmed around his beachside state house, banging drums and screaming.Soldiers danced in Banjul's ramshackle streets, chanting "President Jammeh, the government is yours", as tractors, trucks, police cars and taxis ferried thousands more people towards the beach...source

There you have it folks. All is well in Bathurst (Banjul). Our people are in a festive mode. They have voted Dear leader back to his throne and he threw them the bones. Party on people because tomorrow will be another day. You've made your decision and the results will be visited upon you. In other words you will be accountable for your votes either in a good way or otherwise. I hope for the former dear countrymen.

Incumbent Yahya Jammeh is the winner of yesterdays presidential elections held in the Gambia. With 90% of the votes counted, he is running away with almost 65% of the votes casted. The results were nothing political observer ever envisioned.

Most Gambian political observers expect the incumbent to win especially after the opposition split, but the margin of victory that emerge from yesterdays poll has caught everyone by suprise. However unless someone can prove electoral mischief, I will venture to say that the Gambian people have spoken. They prefer the status quo to change. I don't agree with the decision, but I respect it. They are the masters of their country's destiny and have decreed with yesterdays vote that they like it the way it is. 65% is not a narrow margin. It is a whipping.

Does this mean folks like yours truly will cut Yahya a slack when he trample on the rights of the citizenry....don't even think about it. He has a constitutional mandate to rule and we have a constitutional right to criticize his excesses. That role will continue for the next five years. God bless the Gambia.

It is pretty much a done deal at this hour. The APRC is on its way to an electoral blowout. What amazes me is that the combined opposition figures are not even close to the incumbent's number. The idea that a divided opposition will dilute the opposition votes and enable Yahya to win by default is not supported by the figures been release by the IEC.

 Yahya's vote tally is more than twice the combined opposition figures in all of the constituencies counted. My native Badibou went overwhelming for Yahya. This used to be the opposition stronghold during the first republic and they paid badly for it as far as infrastructural development is concerned. The APRC campaigned on the projects they've initiated especially the Kerewan-Farafenni road construction to woo Badibunkas to vote massively for them. Another factor is the Badibunka businessmen and the influence they have over the folks back home. Their ( the businessmen) palm were greased to exert their influence and pull a huge victory for the APRC. One has to remeber that Yankuba Touray (APRC's chief mobiliser) married into one of these families. Progressive Africans has the latest updates here


The results release so far has the elections trending towards an APRC landslide. With seven constituenties reporting, the APRC has garnered a whopping 75% of the votes counted. The capital city of Banjul voted solidly for the incumbent. Nothing new here...Banjulians always vote for the incumbent. Here is the 2001 results that show the same trend. What is disappointing to me is the poor showing of NADD in Banjul. I was thinking that NADD's method of campaigning will be most effective in this urban setting, but alas I was wrong.

Progressive Africans outlet run by Ebou Jallow is running a live election results update. So far Yahya jammeh is polling 65% with three constituencies posting their results.....Progressive Africans. The UDP is also running live reports at this location.

The elections went without a hitch or any reported violence. The polls closed at 6pm GMT or 2pm EST despite the downpouring of rain that marked the day. The counting is underway and should be a lot faster than usual since the IEC has designated 48 counting centers instead of the usual seven adminstrative areas previously used. Having worked for the electoral commission in an administrative officer, I have seen first hand the logistical nightmare involved in moving all ballot boxes in an adminstrative area to one location for counting.

I will be staying up late into the night monitoring the news coming out from the Gambia from any source reporting on the elections.

After cris-crossing the entire country for the past three weeks, the aspirants for the Gambia's highest office will have to wait for another 48 hours to hear the verdict of the electorate. The campaigning officially ended on Wednesday, September 21 with all candidates making their final pitch in mass rallies organized in various locations in the Kanifing Municipality area... the largest demographically settled area in the country.

Overall the Campaign went fairly well for all and sundry. Compared to the 2001 elections campaign, this one went peaceful with no lost of life reported. The candidates and their supporters should be commended for that. After all is said and done peaceful cohabitation is what we need in the Gambia.

Electoral politics is not strange to Gambians. They have been voting since independence. You may not agree with their choice in the past and may not agree with it come Saturday, but it will be pompous for anyone to tell Gambians what to do on election day.

Citizenship, Halifa like to say is not an accident. I happened to agree with this assertion. Gambians should comport themselves well after casting their votes to avoid any kind of violence. The Gambia is all we have. The security forces should desist from intimidating the electorate.

Finally, the losers of tomorrows vote should gracefully concede provided the vote is certified free and fair by the international observers. The victor should drink some humble juice and not gloat, but acknowledge the challenge and contribution of his opponents and their supporters.

The Daily Observer is reporting that Sudan's genocidal maniac Omar Bashir is on a two day working visit to the Gambia. Here is the story:

Omer Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir, President of Sudan, will arrive in Banjul this afternoon, on a two-day working visit, according to reports from the Office of the President.

President Yahya Jammeh, and members of his cabinet as well as senior government officials, will receive the Sudanese leader at the Banjul International Airport.

According to reports, President El-Bashir will land at the airport at 15:00hrs, and those expected to welcome him are expected to be at the airport at least an hour before his arrival....Observer

Why is Yahya Jammeh inviting a monster who is perpetrating the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur. He is also asking the African Union troops stationed there to protect helpless women and children to leave so that his evil Janjaweed could finally complete the genocide they started a few years ago.This picture illustrates the evil that Bashir is unleashing on the people of Darfur:

How can Yahya break bread with such an evil man? To borrow a phrase from Keith Olberman: Have you no shame sir?

On the elections front the presidential campaigns are going violence free. Some commentators attributed this to the absence of Baba Jobe from the political scene.This is a welcome development. However a reporter for the state run TV station wasn't so lucky. He got arrested and detained by the Gambia's gestapo like agency...the NIA. His only crime was reporting on opposition rallies taking place around the country.

All three presidential campaigns are drawing huge crowds according to press reports, here, here and here. The commonwealth has an election observer group led by the erstwhile African Union secretary general ready to go to the Gambia according to this story.

Needless to say, the bickering continues on Gambian online forums on the break up of the original NADD project. With a week before D-day, I can't fathom why intelligent folks continue to rant on an issue that will not change the dynamics of the game on the ground. Go figure.

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country...Hermann Goering

With the September 11 anniversary around the corner, King George and his minions will be beating the war drums again. They will try to convince the citizens of this nation that Iran is coming to get us. Iran is the new bogey man. Remember the big bad wolf of Mesopotamia (Saddam)? He supposedly has weapons to annihilate civilization or that was the rational Georgie and his handlers told us will happen if they don't get him first. We all know how well that thingy turned out. Yeah Saddam is in jail but Irag is teetering on the brink of disintegration. What a noble venture it has turnout to be.

In the last week or two they have started their disinformation campaign again. First defense secretary Rumsfeld compared anti war Americans to Nazi symphathizers in a speech to the American legion. He later claimed to be quoted out of context after a barrage of counter offensive from the other side led by MSNBC's Keith Oberman. Here is a snippet of what Keith said on his TV show:

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet. Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American. For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve... read the ret of the takedown here
Here is a video of Keith's rant:

But Keith left most of his outrage for Rumsfeld's boss (our boy king)when he said on 9/05/06 the following:
"Have you no sense of decency, sir?"...truthout

Here is a video of the takedown:

If only we had men like Olberman looking for America before the advent of that mistake in human life and treasure called Iraq, it would have been a different story. However, Hermann Goering's analogy is still apt today. It worked for Bush and co in 2002 and unless we are relentless, they will pull another one on us...we the people.

They have their game faces on and with that said, contenders for the Gambia's highest office are campaigning around that tiny islet of a country seeking and in the case of the incumbent demanding that the electorate vote for him as he did in my native village of Saba when he is reported saying:

As the President of The Gambia, I will do what is expected of me but this time around if you vote for me I care for you and if you refuse voting for me, I will also give you my back,” he

Okay let me get this straight, Yahya Jammeh is asking the people of Badibou to vote for him or else his government if re-elected will ignore that region. This is authoritarian to say the least. He is paid by the taxes levied on these people he claims he is rescuing. They are paying taxes and the structures he enumerated are paid for by those taxes. But dictators like Jemus never understand the distinction between state property and their own personal property. They refuse to understand the fundamentals of serve the electorate, use their taxes to provide security for their lives and livelihood, utilize the tax base to build and maintain a viable infrastructure thereby fostering a vibrant economic environment for the betterment of the citizenry.

However, I hold on myself on my Jammeh rant for a minute. The purpose of this post is to acknowledge the developments taking place on the political front. The nominations for the presidential aspirants went fine and the candidates are:

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Incumbent Yahya Jammeh (Candidate for the ruling APRC)

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Ousainou Darbo (Candidate for the opposition Alliance for Change)

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Halifa Sallah (Candidate for the opposition alliance NADD)

The campaign is in ernest and the elections are slated for September the 22nd. The Gambian electorate is the final arbiter. The decision they make on election day will determine what kind of society they want to live in. Personally I am in the anyone but Yahya camp. I believe either of the opposition figures will be a boon for the Gambia. But if the electorate decide to stay with the status quo, that is their right as well. The consequences of such a decision will be visited upon them.

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