The shadow of former President Yahya Jammey hangs over the polls

Gambia’s unique marble voting system is in use

Since former President Yahya Jammeh stepped down and fled the country in 2017, Gambians will vote in their first election.

Six presidential candidates, including the current President Adama Barrow, are running for the election.

This election is regarded as the touchstone of the democratic transition in West African countries.

Approximately 960,000 voters, almost half of the country’s population, are eligible to vote.

Unemployment, the economic recovery from the effects of the Covid pandemic, and whether Mr. Jammeh should return from exile have been the core issues of the campaign.

The BBC’s Thomas Naadi in the capital Banjul reported that there were long lines outside several polling stations, but many voters did not wear masks or did not observe social distancing measures.

The Gambia’s unique marble voting system-introduced in 1965 due to the country’s high illiteracy rate-is still in use.

After arriving at the polling station, after verification of identity, voters will be directed to a series of drums painted in the colors of the different parties of the candidates.

Protruding from the top of each drum is a pipe into which voters will insert the marble handed over by election officials.

After a fiasco in 2017, Mr. Jamme fled to exile in Equatorial Guinea. Last week, President Barrow received a long-delayed government report concerning alleged abuse of power under his 22-year rule.

Hundreds of witnesses told the truth committee about the state-sponsored execution squad and other human rights violations, including the forced treatment of AIDS patients.

Mr. Barrow pledged to ensure justice for the victims.

Photo of Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia when he was president in 2014

Yahya Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea after a fiasco in 2017

The report of the truth commission laid the foundation for a showdown between the two who have abandoned the controversial pre-election agreement announced by their party in September.

Six candidates are running for:

  • Adama Barrow (KMT)-incumbent

  • Usinu Dabo (U.S. Democratic Party)-A lawyer who served briefly as the Vice President of Mr. Barrow.He was a member of the league that overthrew Mr. Jammeh and is participating in the competition for the fifth time

  • Mbefar (Independent)-A lawyer and former chief lawyer of the recently concluded TRRC.Participating in the competition for the first time

  • Mama kander (Gambia Democracy Conference)-With the support of Mr. Jammeh, he won the third place in the 2016 competition

  • Abdulli Ebrima Jameh (National Unity Party)-a former teacher who served as the director of the National Civil Aviation Administration.Participating in the competition for the first time

  • Caliph pray (People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism)-Fifth Candidate for Membership

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