Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is Jammeh going to call early elections?

Gambia's Opposition Leaders
Reports are circulating within the circles of the Gambian dictator to suggest that he is considering calling early elections in 2016 to catch the opposition flatfooted.

Yaya Jammeh is increasingly feeling that his claim to power is being challenged by a more determined opposition, coupled with an increasingly vocal opposition supporters who have been showing up in droves at opposition rallies.

The United Democratic Party's rallies of recent past have not only been well attended but they have been organized without the routine police permits that have been a requirement in the past.

It could be recalled that there was a 3-day stand-off at Fass Njagga Choi when the UDP was denied a permit to conduct a nationwide tour which eventually ended with the police issuing the permit that allowed the tour to proceed.  Since then, it appears that the UDP has been organizing well-attended rallies without police permits or at least without the usual tussle.

The Gambian dictator's recent moves and public statements suggest a worried politician who has observed, what appears, to be a rejuvenated and determined UDP, coupled with a discernible decline in public support for the ruling APRC party.  Jammeh's political rallies have not been well attended in the last year indicating that his supporters are unhappy with a string of unfulfilled promises - ranging from the promise to make Gambia self-sufficient in rice with his numerous Visions to his promises of providing electricity to numerous localities - resulting in numerous disgruntled APRC supporters.

The decline in Jammeh's popularity has not gone unnoticed even among his ardent supporters who are getting increasingly worried.  In what is seen as a desperate move, Jammeh had gone to the extent of inviting the Singhateh brothers ( Edward and Peter ) and former members of the original team that seized power in 1994 to rejuvenate the ruling APRC party - a move prompted by the precipitous drop in his popularity.  The plan leaked and Jammeh blamed the leak on Edward Singhateh. Consequently, the plan to co-opt the brothers back into the fold has been shelved for now at least, according to a source.

The opposition is now faced with the dual challenge of forming a unified front and the possibility of an early election in April or May with the announcement coming around February of 2016.  Time is obviously running out on the opposition.