Presidential campaign opens in Gambia amidst media arrests

  • November 17, 2016

Gambia’s presidential election officially opened up its electoral campaign on Wednesday. Candidature of three people has been approved by the electoral body.

The current President, Yahya Jammeh, who is running for a fifth term, faces Adama Barrow–Barrow is backed by a coalition of seven opposition political parties while the other, Mammah Kandeh, is an ousted member of the ruling party.

The campaigning is expected to last 15 days, after which some 8 lakh voters will go to the polls to elect the head of state of the West African country.

After the arrest of a number of opposition activists months back for calling for electoral reforms ahead of the polls, the tension between the government and the opposition has surfaced visibly.

The Electoral Commission is encouraging candidates to “a peaceful campaign without insults or violence” to observe successful poll.

Some 1400 polling stations are open for approximately 50 electoral districts in the administrative regions.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling for the release of three journalists who were arrested by the authorities and are being held incommunicado.

“Fair elections are only possible if all candidates and parties can freely campaign and journalists can report freely,” Olugboji.

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