News

Gambian Legislative Elections Take Place Amid Boycott, Suspicion

Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party speaks to journalists in Serrekunda, Gambia, November 24, 2011.
Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party speaks to journalists in Serrekunda, Gambia, November 24, 2011.
Nick Loomis

Gambian opposition parties are boycotting Thursday's legislative elections after their request to postpone them was denied. As a result of the boycott, and what the opposition and observers call an unlevel playing field, the ruling party of President Yahya Jammeh is expected to retain total control of the government.

Polls opened in the tiny West African country, but voters have little choice but the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction Party of President Jammeh. Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party joined the boycott after the country's Independent Electoral Commission ignored the opposition's cries of foul.

"They are using government resources," said Darboe.  "They operate from the offices of the regional governors and from the offices of the various local authorities to operate."

The opposition remains critical of the government's control over media and the military to tilt election results in its favor, as well as the alleged use of intimidation at the polls. Alex Vines of the Chatham House policy institute says the opposition's intentions are good, but their methods are flawed.

"I can understand the frustration of the opposition and why boycotting the elections would be attractive. Tactically, though, time and time again, this often results in further marginalization," said Vines.

He says that could prove more problematic under Jammeh, who has been in power since he seized control in a 1994 coup. The Gambia ranks 132 out of 167 in The Economist Intelligence Unit's most recent democracy index. Vines says that the elections, which have improved in transparency, are not the problem.

"The main issue, I think, is the wider context of what's happening in The Gambia and the difficulties of non-governmental organizations to operate and the limits on freedom of expression," said Vines.

The opposition has called for intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which agreed with the opposition's complaints, but did not send an observation mission. In contrast, ECOWAS lauded the fairness of the recent presidential election in Senegal, which it hopes will provide an example for its neighbors.  The Gambia is completely surrounded by Senegal and has no closer neighbor.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs