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Election is a matter of choice - Jammeh tells Banjulians

Sep 5, 2011, 12:43 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

President Yahya Jammeh has opined that election is a matter of choice, and stressed that the practice of staying away from voting during elections will not only be classified as an act of defiance, but lack of interest in the way the country is governed and disloyalty to the state.

Jammeh, who was speaking last Thursday during a meeting with APRC party bigwigs from Banjul, also called on Gambians to exercise their constitutional rights and register a huge turn-out during election day, noting that it is only by voting that one can secure scholarships from his government.

The meeting by members of the ruling APRC top echelon from Banjul, who gathered at the presidency to renew what they said was their total loyalty to the Gambian leader, followed similar meetings by bigwigs of the ruling party from other regions across the country and the Kanifing Municipality.

According to the Gambian leader, voting in elections is a yardstick to measure patriotism. He told the meeting that it is through the support of Gambians, especially those he regards as the good citizens, that he was able to register the type of development people are talking about.

While underscoring the importance of the forthcoming presidential election, the fourth of its kind since 1994, slated for 24th November, President Jammeh called on supporters of the ruling APRC party and the electorates in general to do what is right.

In his view, any member of the electorate who does not vote in the forthcoming election will be classified as being part of the opposition.

“Anyone who attains voting age and fails to cast his/her vote in the election will not benefit from my government’s development projects and programs,” he said, adding that even those who do not want development need to exercise their constitutional rights to show people which political party they support.

Jammeh, who will be seeking a fourth term of office in the November polls, advised supporters of the APRC party not to listen to the opposition, which he said “do not have good intentions” for this country, and “have not done anything good” for this country.

“If the opposition believes in the existence of the Almighty Allah, then they will praise the government if it does something good,” he added.

He further stated that the type of opposition that exists in this country are those bent on blocking any development project earmarked for this country by coming up with things that will make such projects stop or be unsuccessful.

President Jammeh commended Banjulians for their support for him and the APRC party since 1994, while enjoining parents to make sure that their family members who have acquired a voter’s card vote in the forthcoming polls.

“It is the duty of all parents to make sure their family members are not left behind,” he noted.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice President and minister of Women’s Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, applauded the Banjulians for their support for President Jammeh and the APRC party, while calling on them to remain behind Jammeh and the APRC for good.

VP Njie-Saidy called on the Banjulians to be united in bringing the remains of the opposition to the APRC party.

Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, said what is important now is for the citizens to turn out and vote massively for President Jammeh in the November polls.

The Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Fatou Lamin Faye, who also doubles as the APRC liaison officer for Banjul, expressed similar sentiments.

Many speakers who spoke at the meeting praised President Jammeh for all what he has done for them, and Gambians in general.

 Like those from other regions, Banjulians expressed their conviction that come 24th November, President Jammeh will pass the ballot test quite handsomely.

Among them was the Mayor of Banjul, Samba Faal; Alhagie Biri Njie, the regional APRC chairman, Aji Yama Njie, the regional youth mobiliser; Aji Fatou Bah, deputy national women’s mobiliser and Alhagie Mbye Chaw vice-chairman of the council of elders of Banjul.

Meanwhile, President Jammeh also on Friday held a similar meeting with a delegation from the North Bank Region headed by Governor Edward Seckan.

Speakers including Hon. Suku Singhateh, member for Lower Baddibu and APRC desk officer for the region, and Governor Edward Seckan, who all assured President Jammeh of their loyalty and a landslide victory in the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary polls.