Ballot boxesFrom the PPP regime to the APRC regime, Gambians have not enjoyed the power of the voting card. Gambian voters have always left the incumbent political parties and the sitting presidents to have a FREE ride on electioneering and voting since independence in 1965. If Gambian voters knew how sweet and powerful their voting cards are, they will keep these precious cards in a safe bunker. Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Benin and few other Africans have discovered the power and value of the voting card. All civilize nations constitutions in this world have voting provisions for a good reason. This provision in essence is to permit the taxpayers that foot the bill of public expenditure to have a say as to who should be entrusted with their monies, policies and security. Many African presidents and incumbent political parties always try to downplay the power of the card to their nationals whiles projecting themselves as the only able people to govern the country. They will bluntly tell us whether we vote or not they will remain in power. That is a flat lie and many countries have proven them wrong. They and their militants and families will always go vote on an election day. So telling people not bother about voting is for them to be able to tell the world, we won, we are legitimate and you should do business with us as the representative of the country. Who can deny them? These are simple but effective tricks that keep them in power for very long time before the people realize the power of their cards. All the people are left with is complain, insurrections and other violent means of changing a regime with all its attendant risk, collaterals and casualties. These violent means of changing a regime are not readily accepted in the civilize world except in extreme conditions where the incumbent transgress the constitution and engage in widespread human right violations. The incumbents hide behind laws such as non- interference in a sovereign nation, the constitution and the legitimacy of being voted into power. It is always difficult to counter argue them and obtain raison- d’etre. In light of the above facts people are left with the easiest and most acceptable means of regime change and that is the power of the voting card.

Thru the power of the card Senegalese people were able to change two presidents. When you tell a Senegalese how bad the president is, they will simply tell you don’t worry our cards are here and we will deal with him, period. Unless we Gambians awaken to this level and value the power of the voting card we will be left hopeless with only violent, risky and uncertain means of change. That is not the way to go for a civilize nation. At worst Gambians will tell you, lets leave it with GOD, but hey! GOD will leave it back to us because we have in our hands the means and the power of the card to effect the change we want peacefully. GOD has done his part 50 years ago by making us have elections in our country every 5 years. What else do we need from GOD? The day Gambians realize that it takes only two to three hours in a poling booth waiting line to change their lives, that day we will discover the true meaning and power of INDEPENDENCE. Forget the military, the police and the NIA; your voting card is more powerful than all of them combine. Our Senegalese relatives know it, our Ghanaian and Nigerian brothers and sisters know it and the world knows it too but Gambians lazily hide behind GOD and prefer to sleep on Election Day than going to vote.

The power of the card can end dictatorships in a nation’s history, it will reduce financial mismanagements and will strengthen law and order and best of it all it will make our leaders true servants and accountable to the people for they will dread the power of the voting card.
Only Gambians are made to believe by politicians that their voting cards are worthless and of no use to remove a president. This is a pure deceptive propaganda to discourage people to go and vote and change them if they underperform.

Why were the PPP militants going to vote for 30 years? Why do the APRC militants go to vote for the past 20 years? If voting was not important why are they going to vote in the first place? Yet majority of Gambians think voting cannot do a thing in a country, what a sad mistake? A Senegalese or Ghanaian will never think the way Gambians do.

Some will argue that the incumbent will steal the elections but also ignore to factor in that over the years, rigging elections have become a very difficult enterprise and very difficult crime to commit in all African countries nowadays. The mainstream traditional media, the internet online media and social media networks, the opposition parties, the civil right groups and the NGOs all makes it very difficult for the incumbent to steal elections as before. More over the International Election Observer’s mandate is to make sure that a country’s elections are conducted freely and fairly and that the vote counting is correct. With these checks in place, it will indeed be very difficult for a country to rig and steal elections in modern times. The above argument therefore becomes obsolete specially when on the spot counting becomes law. The power of the card even transcends the “simple majority win” law. Senegalese people will eat the incumbent’s election inducement monies and vote for the opposition, Gambians can do the same. Therefore the only weapon left with the incumbent is to canvass the impression that voting exercise cannot bring them down and again it is a blue lie but Gambian people fell on this wild and untrue notion since independence days. PPP did it for 30 years until coup d’état removes them and APRC is doing it for 20 years on with many coup attempts taking place but failed to remove him whiles Gambians still fail to wake up to this election propaganda old song of the APRC/PPP regimes. When will Gambians graduate from coup d’états to democratic change? It is about time that Gambians taste the democratic change that make a people proud whiles sending a strong signal to the military that people power is a reality in the Gambia, and it is possible as seen in other African countries. December 2016 should be the democratic graduation day for Gambian people.
GOD cannot give us the means to change a president yet we keep asking Him to do it for us. You think He will listen? Hell no. You cannot hold a gun in hands and ask GOD to shoot for you? It is on us to wake up and realize that our card is our power to keep presidents and governments in check and replace them freely if they don’t perform. Can someone tell me why civic education for the importance and power of voting is not thought in our school systems, of course there is a valid reason for it as explain above. The PPP did not want it introduced and the APRC will never introduce it in our school systems. By not educating Gambians about the necessity and the power of the voting card they are in essence blind folding Gambians and preparing themselves to justify to the world that they won and those that did not vote are not interested in the affairs of their countries. They can therefore continue ruling the people unhindered despite the corruptions and oppressions. Unfortunately even learned Gambians fall in this wild goose trap and singing the same “devilish anti-election impossibility” propaganda as the enemy they want to remove from office. Those intellectuals that are supposed to educate and enlighten the masses are the very ones whose common sense intellect on the power of the voting card is a big question mark. They look for the devil in the books whiles the devil is in the card. If voting was not important in democracy no country will enshrine it as MUST in their constitutions to permit taxpayers to freely choose their leaders? We Gambians are crying everyday that Jammeh should go yet we remain at home seating on our valuable voting cards on a voting day and let the APRC vote Jammeh into office.

Who are to blame? Certainly not GOD, not the opposition or the constitutions are to blame.
We the people should squarely take the blame in our hands for we failed to recognize and exercise the power of our cards to collectively and democratically effect change of presidents.
Let us now STOP complaining and go and vote Jammeh OUT. Change is in the card.

Thank you.
Deyda Haidara

Ends

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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