An African Union pre-electoral mission to The Gambia says the country’s political issues are domestic and urged political groups to have them addressed.
The mission is part of African Union’s aim of promoting democratic governance on the continent.
“Conclusion is that most of the issues are domestic issues and AU noted the concerns. Our conclusion as a campaign it that we have to address our concerns and that AU can only come for observations if invited by IEC,” said Amie Bojang-Sisohore, the campaign manager for an independent candidate, Dr. Isatou Touray.
Activists believe President Yahya Jammeh may entrench himself in power after losing elections, a move likely to plunge the country into crisis. The Gambia had seen a rise in tensions ahead of polls after rare protests turned frequent and many opposition supporters, especially from the main opposition UDP party jailed.
“If all they can say is that these are domestic issues to be solved by domestic forces then they have learnt nothing from Rwanda or Congo or Liberia or Somalia or Sudan. Yet they have sent peacekeeping forces to all these places,” said Madi Jobarteh, a civil society leader.
Gambians say they hope the AU will not have to wait until it is time to send peacekeeping forces to act.
President Yahya Jammeh has warned the international community in April not to interfere in the country’s domestic issues but post-electoral violence has been on the rise in many African nations, most recently in Gabon.
The AU mission to The Gambia held an information sharing session with political parties and the country’s electoral commission where politicians discussed some electoral concerns.