Dear Gambians in the Diaspora,
First of all I would like to crave your indulgence to hide my true identity and to simply identify myself as Princess Buga Gambia. This is for the safety and security of some of my relatives who live and work in the Gambia. I am a Gambian citizen and a university student of Political Science here in North America and my particular area of research interest is African politics in general and fixed presidential term limits in particular.
My aim here is to share my thoughts with all of you with the hope of building a consensus on one way to effectively and peacefully remove Jammeh from power in next year’s general elections of our homeland. I have a simple and very easily implementable five point plan which, if followed, would surely and definitely result in a defeat for Jammeh in 2016. However, whether he would concede defeat and get out of State House or refuse to hand over power is another issue all together.
This is the first of my 5 points theories on how Jammeh would lose the 2016 Gambian elections. My postulation is that the Gambian Diaspora has 50% of the power to effect political change in the Gambia because we can control almost 50% of the Gambian votes which could all very easily go to the opposition. This is how and why I came to this thesis:
According to the Migration Policy Institute, there were 65,000 Gambians living abroad in 2010. Going by that statistics, it is a fair assumption to say that there are at least a 100,000 Gambians currently living in the diaspora in the form of “semesters” and expatriates (working for International Organizations such as the UN, ICC, WHO, FOA, universities etc). Yes at least a 100, 000 Gambians in the diaspora!!!
And as we all know, Gambians are a shining example of a people who, not only care for our immediate family but for the whole extended family as well. This is evident from the huge amount of remittances we send home every year which could even be higher than the government’s annual budget. Even me as a student and a part-time worker, I am responsible for 9 people back home. It will therefore be very close to call to postulate that on average, each of us in the diaspora has responsibility over at least 5 voting aged people in the Gambia (say our mother, father, a brother a sister and our spouse/partner). Our responsibility naturally goes with some degree of control/influence/right/say over our families/relatives/friends and so therefore, each of us can influence at least, on average, about 5 people back home. Recalling that we are about 100,000 in the diaspora, this means that together, we can influence 500, 000 voters!!!!
According to the 2006 election statistics, 796,929 people registered to vote. Let us take population increase as a factor and estimate that the number of registered voters for 2016 at 1million. This means that by influencing 500,000 voters in the Gambia we are in control of 50% of the votes!!!!!
Based on this analysis therefore, I believe that we the people living in the diaspora can generate the greatest influence to remove Jammeh from power through the ballot box next year without even stepping feet in the Gambia to vote. Without any more coups, violence or blood shed!!!
All we have to do is to appeal, coax, instruct, threaten or do whatever it takes to get each and every single member of our families, friends and relatives above the ages of 18 to register and vote for the opposition (voter apathy/abstinence is what keeps Jammeh winning as the majority of the Gambians hate him and refuses to vote at all). It is really that simple. We get them all to register and get them all to vote for the opposition.
I think the greatest strength of my approach/point is that even if we assume that the Gambian Opposition will not unite behind one party/candidate and that we in the diaspora will not unanimously and collectively agree on a single party/leader, this plan can still work and get Jammeh out of State House. This is because the one area in which all of us diaspora Gambians are united in is that we are all fed up with Jammeh and his government and we all want to see him out of power. That is what unites us and that is our strength!!!! So by influencing 500,000 voters, we have successfully denied Jammeh of 50% of the votes!!!!
In conclusion, I strongly believe that we the Gambians in the diaspora have 50% control/influence over the results of next year’s Presidential election. This is the first point of my 5 points agenda for political change in the Gambia next year and each of my remaining 4 points adds 10% to the possibility of getting back our country from Jammeh. We don’t have to unite, we don’t have to come together, we don’t have to agree, we don’t have to contribute money for anything, we don’t have to form any coalitions, our brothers do not have to plan for any coups or assassination of Jammeh. This plan can work……. Especially if my remaining 4 points are added to the agenda!!!
The second of my five point plan to get rid of Jammeh through the ballot box will immediately follow the publication of this one in the form of an open letter to the opposition parties of the Gambia. To Lawyer Ousainou Darboe in particular and to all the opposition parties in general. Watch this space for more!!!