Gambia: President confident despite ECOWAS snub

The African Union said the elections went off well though, as Jammeh awaits victory.

You might consider elections in a slither of land either side a distant West African river is an irrelevant topic. But The Gambia was once so much freer. 

This little country of a million or so people is steadfastly independent, and rightly so. Surrounded on three sides by the Senegalese, Gambians might have been poor, multicultural and, if it weren't for tourism and peanut farming, forgotten but they were fiercely proud. Now they are "cowed by repression and intimidation" according to the local regional economic club to which they belong, ECOWAS.

But that finding was fantasy, evidently. According to Samuel Fonkam, leader of African Union poll monitors said that the presidential ballot was "well organized and devoid of intimidation" according to the BBC.

Who was right?

I suspect the former. President Yahya Jammeh, in power already since 1994, will be re-elected with another resounding majority. Why bother to hold an election, if other than to secure more rounds of foreign aid. The locals won't rise up. They'll carry on regardless, although it won't be much like a British comedy film starring Sid James, Joan Sims and Kenneth Williams.

ECOWAS has always been treated with a degree of indifference in the Gambia anyway. Why should anything change? ECOWAS' assertions were discounted during the campaign by one of Jammeh's two man challengers, Hamat Bah of the United Front coalition, who couldn't recall any incidence of intimidation and was concerned that claims by the ECOWAS Monitors could discourage his supporters from voting.

So there you are. Another almost certain Jammeh landslide. All free and fair, so they say. Tell that to the average Gambian on the Serrekunda omnibus and watch his reaction.

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