Hamat accuses opposition of playing double standard


By Tabora Bojang

The Minister of Tourism has accused the opposition of playing double standard over allegations that the government plans to register non-Gambians in the upcoming elections.

UDP leader, Ousainu Darboe recently accused government of planning to register non-Gambians following Hamat’s comments that thousands of Gambians have left for Senegal due to pressure on land.


However, addressing a meeting in Kerr Ngorr Jokadu as part of President Adama Barrow’s meet the people tour Tuesday, Hamat Bah said elections are cheated at the registration process, accusing the the opposition of lobbying against the participation of Gambians they know would not vote for them while wanting others in Europe and America to participate.

“Gambians who left for Senegal and other parts of Casamance are citizens. They have got their ID cards, birth certificates and passports. If you say Gambian citizens living in America and Europe have the right to vote in the upcoming elections, why should our sons and daughters who also live in Senegal or Casamance not participate? Where did you base that? Are they not part of the diaspora? Let me tell you this, if a goat is pushed to the corner, it will bite,” Bah said.

Hamat further reminded Gambians who left for Mali, Conakry, and Bissau that “registration for voter’s cards will commence this January and it should cover Gambians living in the diaspora. If IEC fails to come and register you, then come back to the country and get your vote and nobody can stop that because it is your right stated by the law.

“They are claiming that Gambians living in the diaspora should participate in elections but those in Senegal should not. That is a double standard. They [opposition] are trying to lobby against Gambians who they know will not vote for them against registering but I am calling on all Gambians to inform their relatives in these countries to come back and vote, it is not a charity or a gift but a constitutional right. Government is fully in support of diaspora voting and would be ready to implement it but we would not allow it to be selective by choosing some countries and discriminate against others. It has to be just, fair and accessible to all Gambians living in the diaspora, including those in Senegal, Casamance, Mali, and Guinea Bissau,” he added.