Yahya JammehGambian President, Yahya Jammeh has submitted his candidacy ahead of the December’s presidential elections.

The controversial leader is seeking a fifth term in office and he says he would listen only to God for guidance in governing.

Jammeh told its chairman a: “No matter what people say about me, I am not moved… I don’t listen to anybody because I know what is important.

“It is between me and God Almighty.”

He also had harsh words for his critics: “You want to listen to everybody and satisfy everybody, you will end up satisfying the evil people.”

“Do what is right. Make sure you satisfy the Almighty Allah.”

The president further presented a policy platform of free education and healthcare for all. He added that his government believed especially in empowering women.

Antecedents

President Jammeh, 51, took power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and has run the country with an iron fist ever since. He has survived successive coup attempts by consolidating his power at every level of society.

The Gambia has made great progress in the last 20 years in improving literacy and child mortality rates. In the last year, he president banned child marriage and female genital mutilation.

However, his record on civil liberties is less impressive. He has promised to bury critics “nine feet deep”. Also, he told the Ban Ki-moon to “go to hell” after the UN Secretary-General called for an investigation into an activist’s death in custody.

Human Rights Watch reports that there is a slim chance of a free and fair election in the country. The Intimidation of opposition parties, media repression and politicised security forces have reduced the possibility.

Also, Jammeh has attracted worldwide attention for declaring the Gambia an Islamic state. In recent times, he has claimed he concocted a herbal cure for HIV/Aids. He has also withdrawn the Gambia from the International Criminal Court.

Gambian opposition parties have decided to join forces to field a single candidate, Adama Barrow, to take on Jammeh on December 1.

The only other candidate is a former ruling party MP, Mama Kandeh, who has been accused of being used to split opposition votes.

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With over a decade experience in publishing (print and online), Lordson is the Editor of Concise News. His favourite pastimes are reading, writing, football and chess.

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