Gambians elect President amid fear and intimidation

Gambians elect President amid fear and intimidation

The polls opened in The Gambia at dawn, and more than 880,000 people are expected to cast their ballot to decide the next President of The Gambia. Gambians go to the polls to elect their president with a unique marble voting system amid fear and intimidation.

Armed military officers are sighted in the streets of key cities, and President Yahya Jammeh has already decreed that post-electoral protests will be crushed. This election is perhaps the toughest that the incumbent has faced to keep 13 Marina Parade as his address.

Jammeh is facing challenge from a former ruling party parliamentarian Mama Kandeh, and a realtor Adama Barrow, who is backed by seven opposition parties in an unprecedented move.

The Gambia Red Cross has identified 12 cities where post-electoral violence is likely to occur. They say nearly 4,000 people may need immediate first aid and urgent care.

The vote is a test for Jammeh who has vowed to rule for a billion years, and said only Allah can remove him.

There is a total blackout of communication in the country. The internet with international calling is blocked, and the borders are closed.

At least 1,400 polling stations are opened across the country. Armed forces patrolling the streets, and internet shutdown have now become the rule for Africa’s longtime rulers to intimidate opposition supporters and carry out a violent suppression of protests to win elections and remain in power.

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