Gambians call for peace ahead of crucial December election


Several Gambians have called on both presidential candidates and supporters to maintain peace and stability ahead of the December 4 presidential election to ensure smooth polls.

Recently, there had been controversial personal attacks among presidential candidates particularly the incumbent, President Adama Barrow and his political Godfather, now main challenger lawyer Ousainu Darboe, standard-bearer of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has recently warned all presidential candidates against personal attacks, inflammatory remarks, defamatory statements and insult while on political platforms.

Subsequently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also expressed concern over personal attacks between President Adama Barrow and Lawyer Ousainu Darboe.

However, scores of Gambians have also put across their views regarding the controversial remarks of political leaders and supporters in this campaign period.

“There is a great need for presidential candidates, especially President Barrow, standard bearer of the National Peoples Party (NPP)- led alliance and lawyer Ousainu Darboe, leader of the UDP to stop personal attacks in election campaign platforms. They should tell us their programmes and policies rather than attacking each other,” Mamadou Jallow, resident of Sinchu Balliya told The Alkamba Times.

He added: “Such personal attacks between political rivals could instigate conflict in the country.”
In this regard, Jallow called on all political figures to act exemplarily and manifest good behaviors ahead December 4 to ensure smooth presidential election.

“Let the President tell us his achievements as well as his aims for the country in the next five years and oppositions tell us their programmes and policies for the country. If they do that, obviously there will be peaceful pre and post election in The Gambia,” he said.

Alieu Baldeh, resident of Bundung called on all and sundry to stop hate speech, and tribalism. These things, he said, will not advance the country.

“Well, I have understood that politicians like President Barrow and Lawyer Darboe are attacking each other but their supporters should think wisely and know that the country is greater than both Barrow and Darboe.”

Meanwhile, he called on all politicians particularly the President and his main challenger, Darboe to avoid hate speech and campaign based on their manifestos to ensure peaceful co-existence in the country.

Pa Njie, businessperson at the Serekunda Market, also called for the maintenance of peace and stability in the country. He said the electorate should choose and vote a competent candidate and avoid abusive language all around.

“Abusive language will not develop the country. It has no use. And there is a need for all Gambians to carefully and critically choose their candidates so that we do not regret after election,” he argued.

He said presidential candidates should “campaign with their programmes and policies so that the electorate make decisions before Election Day.” Kumba Jadama, vendor at the Serekunda Market, said: “There is no need for personal attacks and insults. We should wait until Election Day and cast our votes peacefully.”

Speaking further, she said if anyone wins the election, all Gambians should help him to develop the country in the interest of all.
“Violence has no use,” she added.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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