As the build-up to the December 1, 2016 Gambia's Presidential election heats up FESTUS IYORAH in this analysis zooms in on female Presidential candidate, Isatou Touray, who will be contesting against ruthless incumbent, President Jammeh in December.
She is Dr Isatou Touray, the first female Presidential candidate who has decided to contest against President Jammeh who has been in power since 1994. She’s a campaigner against female genital mutilation and a development expert who won the US State Department award for empowering Gambian communities in 2008.
In Gambia, President Jammeh has jailed scores of opposition members questioning his longevity but Touray is not afraid of him as she’s poised to make a difference in the up-coming elections due to be held by December.
Why is she contesting?
Touray in an interview with BBC Africa Today’s podcast said she’s out to salvage the Gambians from the current situation they are facing. She said the situation on ground is bad as there is no democracy; people are living in fear and there’s no respect for fundamental human rights.
While announcing her candidacy in a press conference, she accused President Jammeh of sowing division between communities and living a gross lifestyle.
“It’s time for him to go,” she quipped while declaring her intention to contest for president.
Furthermore, Touray who was arrested in 2010 over corruption allegations but was acquitted of all charges said she is poised to change the tide in Gambia if elected.
As regards her plan for Gambians, she said there are programmes that will be implemented to create jobs and will also get the population developed and have confidence in themselves.
“Yearning For Change”
Touray said she has a feeling that she’s going to win because the people of Gambia are ‘yearning for change’ which would birth a new dawn in the country, adding that she has confidence in the people of Gambia who she claims are ready to vote for her in December.
“I’ve a 100 percent feeling that I am going to win because the whole population is yearning for change. There’s no home in Gambia that has not been traumatized. These are the people who are ready to change the tide,” she said.
However, analysts are of the opinion that there may be a replay of what happened in 2011 when Gambians voted President Jammeh out of fear.
In the last election held in 2011, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), refused to endorse his victory, saying voters and the opposition had been “cowed by repression and intimidation.”
Afraid of President Jammeh?
Officially referred to as his "His Excellency Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji, Doctor Yahya AJJ Jammeh,” President Jammeh is arguably one of the world's most ruthless leaders. He came to power in 1994 as a 29-year-old army lieutenant in bloodless coup and has won four multi-party elections.
His government's ideologies, brutal approach to issues and treatment of journalists and opposition have drawn criticism across the world.
The BBC reports that nine people were executed, including Alieu Bah, a former lieutenant in the army who was arrested and jailed in 1997 for plotting to oust President Jammeh.
However, Touray is not afraid of him; she told the BBC that she is not afraid of him because she’s a Gambian that has rights and the security agencies who may orchestrate her arrest are civilized people who know the rule of law to the letter.