Gambia’s Minister of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Ousainou Darboe has pledged that Gambians in the Diaspora will be joining their citizens to decide who their leader would be.
Gambians abroad have not been voting in the country’s elections since independence, although it was a significant and powerful political and economic bloc.
Gambians in Europe and America became fierce critics and the defacto opposition of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, who ruled with an iron-fist.
Jammeh two decades rule was marked by repression, intimidation and human rights abuses. Activists in the Diaspora joined forces with right groups to turn the world’s attention to the mainland Africa’s smallest nation.
Jammeh was defeated in last year’s elections. The Diaspora mounted a strong social media campaign to swing votes and raised millions to fund the opposition coalition that defeated the former brute-in-chief.
Gambians have since Jammeh’s defeat made it a priority to remind the new government of Adama Barrow that they need to be enfranchized and be even given legislative seats.
Gambia’s neighbor Senegal has at least three legislative seats for some three Diaspora constituencies: America, Europe, and Africa, a model that Gambians want to see the government adopt.
A constitutional reform in the Gambia is imminent and Gambians want to see the changes reflected in the country’s new constitution that will see the one tailor-made to entrench Jammeh flushed.