President Yahya Jammeh had in the past relied on two constituents: youths and women to win with a landslide. But Jammeh’s popularity is declining and declining with it is his support from the country’s many unemployed youths and poverty-stricken women.
More than half of The Gambia’s population are its youths. Thousands of Gambian citizens are journeying across the Sahara and through the Medditerenean to reach Europe. Hundreds of them have died. The Gambia, with a population of fewer than two million people, has the third largest number of arrivals by proportion.
The unity of opposition groups was not the only unprecedented event marking The Gambia’s elections, but the involvement of many of the country’s silent youths, the majority of them are first-time voters.
On social media, many of the country’s youths who stayed away from talking about politics were no longer posting about social events, but of the political activities in the run-up to the polls. They have been advocating for everyone to vote and of course, partisanly advocating for the opposition.
Many of the youths from the country’s university were in favor of a women’s rights campaigner Dr. Isatou Touray. Touray joined the coalition and so did the many youths whose hopes for a better Gambia she reignited.
Unlike previous elections, opposition rallies were full of senior citizens. The green youths that used to accompany Jammeh were nowhere to be seen and a new silence fell on the APRC youth wing. Some of its key youth members have defected, leaving Jammeh hoping to secure enough rural votes to retain his presidency.