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Column | The Need To Disarm All Possibilities For a Government Dominated Parliament Come April 2022

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 |A Case For An Opposition Pact & Tactical Voting Against a Government Parliamentary Majority|    By Pa Louis Sambou   T o suggest that the result of the just concluded presidential elections was a landslide for President Barrow’s NPP led coalition would be the understatement of the year; it was a brutal political earthquake, whose tremor is yet to even abate. After everything said and done over the preceding eventful five years, the Gambian people decided and the weight and strength of their democratic verdict leaves very little room for any credible polemical exercise on the subject matter. Well, this is at least the view of most fair-minded people and it must not come as a surprise that such is a view with which I fully agree. I must however concede that exploring the slew of theories as to the mechanics behind why people voted the way they did, although an interesting exercise, on balance, it is a distraction which I am yet to be convinced meets sufficient threshold to be accor

COLUMN | Presidential Elections 2021: Why We Lost?

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|How The Gambian Opposition Walked Itself Into A Crushing DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Defeat|       By Pa Louis Sambou    T he minute Jammeh whisked himself into exile, the repression was no more. With time, what was a stiffened democratic space gradually opened up, accelerated by a Gambian mastery of the use of online media in ways which few could have reasonably foreseen. Once ordinary people found their voice, it was very quickly put into effective use by a people firmly determined never to be shut up ever again. Although slow to find his voice within his cabinet, but the President also eventually caught up, and having discovered his executive powers, his ‘political Godfather’ soon found out about it when the nest became too small for both ‘son’ and ‘political Godfather’ — from which rupture, emerged the not so youthful Barrow ‘Youth’ Movement and eventually the National People’s Party (NPP) and which development it is not possible to discount from any credible commentary on the subject of

COLUMN | The Eventful Journey to December 4th Elections and the Road Ahead

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  |Unique Circumstances of a Maiden Post Dictatorship Presidential Election, the Runners and Its Likely Outcome|   By Pa Louis Sambou    A fter the fall of a ‘strong man’ in former President Jammeh who hamstrung far much more than a fair share of daily life of Gambians including those of public institutions, most Gambians were relieved and thought: ‘never again’. Well, we were wrong. After twenty-two years, public institutions became so accustomed to being kept ‘in line’ through diktat ‘from the top’ rather than through due process, post Jammeh, contrary to public expectation, some of these institutions and figureheads within them increasingly display a worrying lack of regard to the courts. Not even according the judiciary the courtesy of deference. In the build-up to, and over the course of the coming Presidential elections, this lamentable phenomenon has manifested itself in more ways than most would have liked vis-à-vis the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and its response to

COLUMN | The CPD Debate, the ‘Absentee Four’ and How the Leaders Who Rose to The Challenge Fared

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      From Left: Honourable Sallah and Essa Faal |  The Robust Fiery Political Exchange Which Simmered Down on a Cool Friendly Closing Note  |    By Pa Louis Sambou   T here is little doubt that the collapse of the former regime’s  vote in 2016 and the subsequent rupture of what was the coalition, precipitated a shift in the techtonic plates of The Gambia’s political landscape in ways never seen before. By all accounts, such state of affairs makes it much more difficult to say with any respectable degree of certainty, how the marbles will land come election day. Naturally, one would expect such uncertainty to generate a spirit of collaboration among opposition parties and candidates, something which has been and perhaps still is a mainstream view within certain quarters. However, as 4 th December draws closer, this logic is increasingly melting out into a myth, albeit still too blissful to let go of by some. In reality, not only is there reluctance for any collaboration among the oppos

COLUMN | Presidential Election 2021 Nominations & the Big Questions Emerging From it

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  |The Tricky Business of Relying on Military Junta Decrees to Organise Democratic Elections in a Post Dictatorship Era| By Pa Louis Sambou   F or anyone who’s had to await decision on something which meant a lot to them and into which they invested so much: whether the outcome of a job application, publication of exam results or perhaps that maiden travel visa, the agony endured by the long list of President aspirants on Saturday 6 th  November 2021 must have felt familiar. For candidates to whom unfulfilled notices of outstanding information were issued upon presenting themselves for nomination at the Independent Electoral Commission (the IEC), it is fair to say that their disqualifications would have already been obvious to them once nominations closed on 5 th  November. So one could, with a degree of certainty say that the latter category of aspirants were probably not sat in front of the television screen waiting in anguish. For all others, the question as to whether the IEC’s ann

COLUMN | Why We Must Not Weaponise Section 62 of the Constitution

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|We should be easing, not unduly heightening pre-election tension|   By Pa Louis Sambou    A s the Presidential election nears, section 62 of the Constitution appears to be attracting unprecedented level of interest, the likes of which we’ve never seen in any previous election in the lifetime of the Constitution. This provision, which details the qualification and disqualification rules as regards candidates for presidential elections appears to occupy an unusual mainstream position in political discourse among the electorate, more than even the candidates’ manifestos. For such a dull subject, one wonders whether the high interest it arouses over and beyond other issues points to the underwhelming nature of what it is that the candidates have got to offer or, whether such is attributed to sinister issues which are so far, much less obvious to pinpoint than the aforementioned. If the latter turns out to be the driver of such unusual public interest in section 62, then such’ll be an indi

COLUMN | The Irony of The Gambia – EU Deportation Ping-Pong

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|A Classic Example of Mercenary Diplomacy and How Not to Conduct International Relations|   By Pa Louis Sambou    W ith Presidential elections barely two months away, visa restriction measures imposed against The Gambia, for the government’s failure to cooperate with the EU’s deportation regime as was confirmed in a recent  press statement by the European Commission  could not have come at a more critical time. For the special interest opposition for whom accusing the government of facilitating deportations served a rewarding political weapon of choice, this development slams shut such an otherwise useful misinformation gateway. To do justice to other opponents of this government whose opposition is premised on principled disagreement, it is fair to qualify what I meant by ‘special interest opposition’ being those former political associates of the President whom are in opposition today against their will, not because of any principled conviction but rather, because the President dismi