“JAMMEH HAS NO RIGHT OR POWER TO BRING US BACK TO THE POLLS” Says Mamma Kandeh

By Ndey Sowe & Fatoumatta K. Jallow

Hon. Mamma Kandeh, Party Leader, Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) said “President Jammeh has no right or power to bring us back to the polls”, adding that this is the reason he (Jammeh) filed his petition to the court.

According to Kandeh, it is not Jammeh who should decide whether or not we go to the polls. He said if that is the case then Jammeh would not have filed a petition in the court.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference, Hon. Kandeh said he does not buy that but if Jammeh is saying so, he is definitely making a big mistake because he is not to decide in the court.

“If you are defeated, you should allow it and step-down in peace,” said the GDC contender who had also lost in the 1 December 2-16 poll.

“The GDC deems it necessary to call for this press conference to register their position about the current situation in The Gambia which is the political impasse that the Gambia is facing today,” said Hon. Kandeh.

According to him, the position of the GDC does not change and will remain unchanged. “GDC was defeated by the elected President Barrow and the GDC is not going to contest or challenge the results of the December 1st election and after accepting defeat they will still remain unchanged,” he remarked.

GDC leader stressed that his party has an important role to play in the current political crises that the Gambia is facing. He emphasised that the problem they are facing can be resolved by them peacefully.

Hon. Kandeh said the GDC is not encouraging any form of violence or military intervention within or outside the country.

He GDC leader said he believes that they can resolve their problems in peace, stability and tranquility and as such there is no need for them to build mountains of such violence. “…those military officers that are to take the forefront if there is any form of violence or military intervention might be our families or loved ones in or outside The Gambia,” he said.

He therefore questioned why Gambians would want a scenario of that nature?

Hon. Kandeh recalled in many of the speeches of both Incoming President Barrow and outgoing President Jammeh they always call for peace.

“The position of the GDC is that the two parties should open their lines of communications and sit to have a dialogue to resolve their problems as Gambians and there is no given situation that cannot be resolved,” he stressed.

Kandeh therefore called on President elect Barrow and Jammeh to come together on a table, forgive each other and open a new page for the Gambia which he believes they can surely do.

He said throughout his tour, the GDC message has always been peace.

“Gambia is bigger than every one of us and military intervention is not the solution. A population of less than two million people should not encourage war,” he stressed.

According to him, the political crises have affected business and the economy.

Hon. Kandeh said he would not be a president who would not accept defeat, adding that as politicians, they have a role to play because before election there was peace and the reason why they go to polls is to select our choice in peace but not to create tension which will send this country backward.

“The constitution is allowing Gambians to go to the polls every five years to select and vote for the candidate of their choice. In the same constitution, it gives right to every Gambian, be it a farmer or fisher man, whoever is interested in holding any position, he or she has the right to do so because it is in our constitution,” he said.

He added that the requirements for the position are clearly stipulated in the constitution and that these are what qualify one for the nomination to be accepted by the Independent Electoral Commission (I.E.C.).

Kandeh said it is the same constitution which allows for the formation of the (I.E.C to control and take charge of the electoral processes within the Gambia. Kandeh believes that all Gambians accept what the constitution of The Gambia says, adding that this was why President-elect Barrow, Jammeh, and himself went to the I.E.C to be nominated in fulfilling the requirements of the constitution. “The same constitution gives power to the incumbent to hand-over power within sixty days if he is defeated, that’s why President-elect Barrow was not sworn in the same day. Jammeh called him by accepting defeat and that is the reason why Barrow is not making any force to be sworn in till the 19th of January 2017 because they are respecting the rule of law which all political parties should do,” said Hon. Kandeh.

He, however, states that section 49 of the constitution empowers every citizen that has contested in every election, be it local government, parliamentary or presidential election, to file a petition in the supreme court if that individual is not satisfied with the election.

Hon. Mamma Kandeh said all political parties should respect the rule of law and the constitution.

On the media, he said they rely so much on them because information is power and that “journalists are the lions of The Gambia and they operate in difficult situations in The Gambia”. He added ‘it was big risk but despite all that they were going all out to make sure that information reaches to the people at the grass root.

While thanking all political parties and the Gambian people, he uses the opportunity to wish both Muslims and Christians a happy New Year and a peaceful 2017.