TAT editorial – We must continue to demand system change!


Now that the UDP has filed an election petition at the Supreme Court, we wait to see the outcome.

Taking any grievances to the apex court, as stipulated in our elections laws; and, as recommended by all persons and entities calling for post-election calm, is the way to go.

The African Union Election Observer Mission (AUEOM) in its preliminary report, for instance, called on “all stakeholders to remain calm during and after the electoral process.

“The mission urges any stakeholder dissatisfied with the electoral process to seek redress through the established legal and institutional mechanisms.”

Several other election observers, local and international, including the EU, ECOWAS, and Commonwealth, among others, also made similar calls.

Ahead of the crucial NAMs election in April 2022, the UDP’s going to court – as did a few of the rejected presidential aspirants seeking nomination – would help further highlight the imperfections of a system which always puts the opposition at a disadvantage.

President-elect Adama Barrow is already on record as publicly expressing his wish for an overwhelming NPP majority in the country’s legislature, as well as in the municipal and area councils.

Should it happen, this without a doubt would help further highlight the lack of a level playing field in the political arena, as mentioned in the EUEOM preliminary statement, among other such findings.

Therefore, it is misleading and detrimental to proper public enlightenment to reduce winning and losing elections in Gambia to the processes on Election Day.

Definitely, there is more to it than just that – the voting, counting and declaration of results.

Otherwise, for example, Jammeh would not have reportedly collected voters cards at the APRC Kanifing bureau, in his aborted plan to steal the 2016 election.

Nor would he send the police and NIA to the Upper Saloum Constituency to confiscate voters cards in the possession of persons deemed “Senegalese”, thus enabling the APRC to wrest that constituency from the NRP.

Moreover, another huge win for the NPP in April will take us back to the era of one-party dominance of the national political space.

It will also expose as false the claim that defeating Yahya Jammeh in 2016 was proof that you can unseat an incumbent through the ballot box.

Indeed, another Barrow win in April will prove the contrary; it will show that in Gambia, as elsewhere, it takes more than voting to remove an incumbent.

The empirical evidence shows the PPP being in office for around 30 years, and it took a coup to change their government.

The APRC of Yahya Jammeh could also win elections back to back for two decades, thanks to the perennial absence of a level playing field in the country’s political arena.

Indeed, but for a constellation of unfavorable circumstances, Yahya Jammeh would have remained in office to this day and beyond.

Thus, the belated call for “system change” – which is a public confession of failure in mainstream politics, caused largely by an electoral system heavily skewed against the opposition.

You need to read the preliminary reports of the election observer missions of the African Union (AUEOM) and the European Union (EUEOM) to better understand how and why the incumbents in Gambia can win election public elections continuously.

TAT has publish the statements of both EOMs for the general public to better appreciate the enabling environment which guarantees that – without meaningful electoral reforms now – Barrow will continue to win big, now and in future!

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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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