Gambia - ruling by Allah's grace

2011-07-18 20:20

Banjul - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said on Monday that neither the upcoming November presidential election nor a military coup, but only God, could unseat him from power.

State television GRTS broadcast a speech by the 46-year-old leader to a meeting of mostly farmers in Gambia's central river region.

"Elections will not make me to lose power nor will military coups make me lose grip of power. It is only the Almighty Allah who made it possible for me to come to power in 1994 in a bloodless coup who can make this possible."

"So if anybody thinks that the oppositions are going to win the forthcoming elections [they are] making a day dream," Jammeh told cheering supporters.

Jammeh, who will be seeking a fourth term in office in the November 24 presidential, legislative and local elections, will on Friday celebrate the 17th anniversary of his rise to power in a bloodless coup.

The outspoken military officer and former wrestler said earlier this year: "It is a foregone conclusion that I will sweep the November presidential polls that will be free, fair and transparent."

Five opposition parties plan to take part in the elections, but analysts say they have no alternative but to unite to pose a credible challenge to Jammeh's ruling party.

Rights organisations accuse him of ruling the smallest country on the African mainland with an iron fist, repressing criticism and brushing off concerns over human rights abuses.

Jammeh has woven a shroud of mysticism around himself and has come under fire from abroad for claiming he can cure Aids by using a combination of mystical powers and herbs which requires patients to stop other treatment.

In March 2009, Amnesty International documented the cases of up to 1 000 people taken from their villages in a "witchhunt" during which they were forced to drink poisonous concoctions that left six dead.

- SAPA
Read more on:    yahya jammeh  |  the gambia  |  west africa
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