By Alhagie Jobe
Gambia’s incumbent President Yahya Jammeh and presidential candidate of the APRC party on Monday kicked-off his nationwide campaign for re-election, two days ahead of official starting date as declared by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Campaigning for the upcoming presidential election as officially declared by the electoral body should start on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 and according to the electoral laws, no party or candidate has the right to go in for campaign ahead of the official starting date.
Many political analysts say this clearly shows that Mr Jammeh has no regards for the electoral laws and the electoral body by starting his campaign ahead of official starting date.
Mr Jammeh who is seeking for a fifth term in office has rule the small West African nation for the past 22 years with fear. He is been challenged by a very popular and strong opposition coalition comprising of seven political parties and an Independent Candidate and another lone party, the Gambia Democratic Congress Party of Mama Kandeh.
Last Thursday, Jammeh submitted his nomination papers to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) like Mama Kandeh of GDC and Adama Barrow of the coalition who also submitted their nomination papers earlier in the same week.
Meanwhile, the IEC has announced the approval of the nominations of the three aspiring candidates in the upcoming election.
During the campaign period, the three aspiring presidential candidates will criss-cross the entire nation to sell out their development plans to the people for either change or maintaining the same regime.
Mr Jammeh is widely believed to lose this year’s elections as the opposition coalition is looking stronger than the ruling party.
Gambia under the presidency of Mr Jammeh has the worst human rights violation records in the continent. The government has infringed on privacy rights, restricted freedom of speech and shown little or no respect for the fundamental human rights of Gambian citizens. Arbitrary arrests and detentions have increased; security forces continue to harass and mistreat detainees, prisoners, opposition members, journalists, and civilians with impunity.