Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gambian army split down the middle on eve of voting as Jammeh threatens to reverse on-the-spot counting

Chief of Defense Staff Badgie 
As Gambians prepare to go to the polls in less than 48 hours, the senior army command is split down the middle with a group of officers led by the Chief of Defense Staff leaning towards tilting the elections in favor of the incumbent and another by the elite presidential guard led by General Saul Badgie who is reportedly ready to defend the Constitution by supporting whoever wins next Thursday.

It is reported that Inspector General of Police, Yankuba Sonko, is siding with CDS Badgie, siding with Yaya Jammeh.

Jammeh finds himself fighting the fight of his life after underestimating the ability of the opposition to coalesce around a single candidate which the seven opposition parties and an independent presidential candidate were accomplished.  It was a feat Jammeh never thought possible.  He's tried to break it up without success.
Presidential Guard Commander, Gen. Saul Badjie 

The other challenge that Jammeh faces this presidential elections is the decision he took to allow on-the-spot counting of the votes once the polls close.   Previously, the vote rigging took place during the transporting of the ballots from the various polling stations to regional centers when opposition ballots are reportedly emptied or Jammeh's ballots stuffed with marbles supplied by the Jammeh camp.  The current method would significantly reduce the likelihood of ballot stuffing when polling agents agents from all parties are present.

It is for these reasons that Jammeh is considering announcing on Thursday before the polls close that the votes will be counted as central locations in each of the administrative areas.  The rationale is that a delayed announcement will preempt a possible mass protest by the Gambian people in opposition to the move.
Inspector General of Police - Sonko

The tide has turned against the Jammeh dictatorship.  The Gambian leader is aware of it and so is a section of the military.  According to a source close to the Gambian dictator, Jammeh is worried that he could lose the elections to the Coalition if the playing field is level and the electoral process is  more credible this time around than in previous elections.  So, he will try to see how he can manipulate the elections in his favor using the Independent Electoral Commission.

The fact that none of the credible international organizations and bilateral partners of the regime will be sending monitors to observe the elections only adds to the uncertainty of the outcome the elections. As at today, only the African Union and the OIC have been confirmed to be sending representatives to monitor the elections, a further reminder of the pariah status of the country..  The United Nations, we've learned will be sending a team that will be under the supervision of the UNDP Resident Representative.