An opinion on the December 1 election and the impasse

WHO HAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL POWER TO RESOLVE THE CURRENT GAMBIAN 1st DECEMBER ELECTION CRISIS?  IS IT THE CONSTITUTION; THE INCUMBENT PRESIDENT; THE PRESIDENT ELECT; THE IEC CHAIRMAN’ DECLARATIONS; THE SUPREME COURT; THE CDS AND THE SECRETARY GENERAL AND HON SEEDY NJIE’ COMMITTEE; INTERNAL DIALOGUES AND CONSULTATIONS; THE ECOWAS OR THE VOICE OF OVER 500’ 000 VOTERS WHO VOTED ON THE 1st DECEMBER 2016? 

First of all we should understand that any arrangement and consultations being done to prevent Barrow from being inaugurated until the supreme court verdict is heard should be in line with the Gambian Constitution because when Gambians were voting on the 1st of December 2016 to select the candidate they want to lead them there were no arrangements; consultations or committees rather they voted because of their constitutional rights to make their own choices vis-à-vis who should be their next president after the 1st December elections Adama Barrow is the President Elect according to the results of the 1st December Elections and everybody must realize that these election results are not Jammeh’s results’ they are not CDS and The Committees results; they are not Barrow’s results’ they are not the IEC Chairman’s results but they are simply results from the voters so in this crisis whoever wants to prevent President elect Barrow from being inaugurated is trampling on the constitutional rights of the majority of voters who chose President Elect Adama Barrow to become the President of the Republic of the Gambia.

Yahya Jammeh does not have any constitutional and Executive powers or Prerogative to annul the results of the 1st December elections and prevent President Elect Adama Barrow from being inaugurated otherwise he would not have allowed elections to happen on the 1st December 2016.  At this point in time it is not his executive orders that should prevail to prevent Barrow from being inaugurated it is the constitution of the Gambia and the Voice of the majority of the Voters that should determine who should be inaugurated or not? If Jammeh now has the power to annul the results of the elections and deprive Barrow from being inaugurated why he did and Barrow campaign for the voters to vote for them? So therefore there is no consultation and arrangement required constitutionally to delay Barrow’s inauguration because arrangements and consultations were not done before the elections and on the 1st December 2016 to put either Jammeh or Barrow at the state house. The final consultations and arrangements have been done by the voters by voting and choosing Adama Barrow as the President of the 3rd Republic on the 1st December 2016 and whoever wants to put that aside and prevent Barrow from being inaugurated is not only trampling on the constitutional rights of the coalition and Adama Barrow but the rights of the majority of the Gambian voters who simply chose Barrow on the 1st December 2016 as the President of the Republic of the Gambia. If Incumbent President Jammeh and the APRC have rights to pursue the majority of the Voters also have rights and the Coalition and Barrow also have rights in this crisis. So I want everybody to simply understand that it is not an incumbent President and his committee’s business to prevent Barrow from being inaugurated otherwise they would have had constitutional powers to cancel the 1st December elections and allow Jammeh to continue as president. Please stop pursuing personal and party interest at the expense of the constitution and the rights and voice of the majority of voters.

The election results cannot be annulled by any incumbent President all over the world; including the Gambia. Incumbent President Yahya Jammeh does not have that constitutional power or Executive Power or Prerogative and the only right he has in this crisis is to send his petition to the Supreme Court and wait for the Supreme Court’s final verdict but that should not prevent Barrow from being inaugurated as the President elect of the Republic of the Gambia. If the results had favoured him will he wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict in November 2017 to be inaugurated as President Elect?

This crisis is not a crisis between Yahya Jammeh and Barrow or between APRC and the Coalition so whoever sees it that way does not understand the Gambian Constitution; otherwise you are deliberately disrespecting and undermining the constitution and the rights of the Gambian voters to make their choice.

I want to advice the CDS and the army and all security personnel that they are state employees and professionals and they should not side any individual or party when it comes to crisis like election results because it is very clear in our constitution that the IEC chairman’s declaration is final just like the whistle of the referee during a football match. So if the IEC chairman declares results which were not made by him but from the counting stations and endorsed by all relevant stakeholders at the polling stations and counting stations can those results be prevented to prevail by an incumbent president with the backing of a CDS and the army; we must all try to see how this may create more crisis sooner or later because it is not the responsibility for the CDS and Army to side anyone in this crisis but rather as professionals and employees of the state their duty is to see that the constitution is followed to the letter by any political leader and party.

The whole world is getting politically volatile and we Gambians should try to safeguard the peace we have had since 1965.We can only sustain this peace if we do not bend the rules and adhere to what our constitution dictates.

So my advice is for all to clearly understand that Yahya Jammeh does not have constitutional or executive or prerogative powers to annul the results of the elections neither has he any executive powers to prevent Barrow from being inaugurated. So with this fact clearly understood we should all leave this crisis to be resolved by the constitution and not to pack the constitution and the election results aside and start to use the Army and committees to make unnecessary unconstitutional arrangements; dialogues and consultations that deviate from the requirements of the constitution will never be able to resolve the crisis. So let the Army and Security chiefs ask Jammeh to step down on the 19th of January 2017 otherwise any prolongation of the crisis is unconstitutional and is being done deliberately at the expense of the majority of the voters and constitution to a greater extent than it is being done at the expense of Barrow and the Coalition.

What will be the fate of the election results announced by the IEC chairman? Are you saying that we dump them into the dust bin and ignore the constitution of the Gambia by using the Army or Committee to prevent Barrow from being inaugurated or is it that you do not know that there is a constitution and electoral laws in the Gambia. Let us all be careful of the decisions we take during crises like this because we are all accountable for the outcomes of our decisions sooner or later. Political leaders come and go but the state and people remain so any decision and move any one takes must not violate our constitution and electoral laws. Please allow the rights and voice of those voters to prevail.

Why did the Gambia lack a supreme court when the Supreme Court is required urgently to settle appeals made by other people lingering in prison? Whose fault is it to appoint or not to appoint judges of the Supreme Court?  So my advice is that let the Incumbent President Jammeh step down and wait until Supreme Court judges are appointed to look into his petition. The inauguration of Barry has nothing to do with the Supreme Court because Barrow does not become President Elect through the Supreme Court but rather he becomes a President Elect through the majority of the voters in line with the constitution.

Political leaders should understand that the peace they preach all the time they talk to the masses cannot be sustained in the absence of justice. Justice and Peace are twins and peace is not sustainable where there is no justice so it is incumbent upon all political leaders to ensure justice all the time to sustain peace otherwise mere preaching and ignoring the rights of the people and supporting political colleagues at the expense of the constitution and voices and rights of the majority of voters will only create and escalate crisis the outcomes of which they the political leaders will be accountable sooner or later.

Complaints such as why more than 360000 voters did not vote and 5000 APRC voters were not allowed to vote in KMC have no legal validity in any court even at the tribunals or magistrates’ courts because they have no sufficient evidence to prove that APRC supporters were denied to vote by IEC officers. How did the IEC officers know that the 5000 voters were APRC because during voting no one was allowed to put on any party symbol or tee-shirt? This is a 360000 dollar Question for APRC to answer.

IEC officers at polling and counting stations were teachers and other civil servants temporarily hired to supervise the voting process so none of them knows whether a voter was APRC; GDC or Coalition supporter, so it makes no sense to blame the IEC Chairman for this. The complaint that over 360000 voters did not vote is not the responsibility of the IEC chairman because his duty is not to force any one to vote.

My advice to party supporters is for them to support their parties in line with the constitution and electoral laws of the Gambia and stop being used by Political leaders and interest groups to unnecessarily demonstrate unconstitutionally just to support their party. Political  Parties come and go but the people remain so party supporters must start to realize that if they support any party unconstitutionally any violence that comes out of the confrontation will affect them the most. Politics is not rivalry between enemies or political parties. Rather it is a tool to bring peace and development and promote peace and justice in society. Party supporters should try to understand the electoral laws of the Gambia before being used in unnecessary and unconstitutional and mere demonstrations. What has demonstrations to do with this crisis? Did you demonstrate during the campaign; did you demonstrate on the voting day? Why do you have to demonstrate at the Supreme Court after IEC chairman’s declaration of the results? Every citizen should try to understand the electoral laws of the Gambia and use that knowledge to safeguard the security and peace in the Gambia. Party supporters should not allow any politician or interest groups to use you to instigate violence after simply knowing that the Incumbent does not have any power to annul election results otherwise he would have used those powers to continue as president without doing campaigns and voting. Please note that Power lies with God and the people and not an incumbent so on that note every party supporter or Gambian should try to know our electoral laws before being used by interest groups or politicians to demonstrate. How can demonstrations at Supreme Court resolve this crisis? The only right Incumbent President Jammeh has as at now is to pursue his petition at the Supreme Court and step down on the 18th January 2017 for President Elect Adama Barrow to be inaugurate on the 19th of January 2017.