Samba Jallow, minority leader in the Gambia’s parliament said that campaign days ahead of elections must be extended beyond the two-week period allowed by the electoral commission. He was speaking to the new chief of the commission, Alieu Njie during a parliamentary oversight session.

Denied permits.

Gambia’s opposition have no access to state media and say they do not have enough campaign days ahead of polls to reach out to voters. Minority Leader Jallow said opposition parties are denied permits or not issued in a timely manner, frustrating campaign efforts in the years heading to polls.

ECOWAS says polls are not free and fair

Not having enough campaign days and the delays or denial of permits were cited by ECOWAS as part of the reasons for declaring the country’s 2011 presidential election as “not free and fair,” amid buying of votes and intimidation by security forces. President Jammeh’s APRC party has state financial and institutional resources at its disposal giving him an unfair advantage to monopolize the West African nation’s political platform. The Gambian leader said he has no opposition in the country and has vowed to rule for life. His regime arbitrarily arrests, detains incommunicado and executes opponents, says rights groups and campaigners.

Political repression putting fragile peace at risk.

Opposition supporters said Mr. Jammeh, who has ruled the Gambia with an iron-fist, is putting the country at risk of a forceful and violent change of government. Jammeh has survived at least a dozen coup attempts; the last was in December 2014 and was launched from outside the country by dissidents living in the United States and Europe.

Free and fair election.

Opposition leaders have warned that further estranging political freedoms can destabilize the country and want a free and fair election to change the government to avoid ‘a bloodbath’ in a country mostly seen as being in peace compared to the rest in the fragile region, which was marred by civil war stemming from internal political squabbles.

Jammeh's popularity tested in Kaur by-election.

Jallow’s party, the NRP won a landslide paramilitary votes in Kaur last year. It was seen as a critical test for Jammeh’s popularity in a region he consistently won over his more than two-decade rule. Political observers were hoping that could be replicated but hopes have been dashed away and opposition support dwindled as coalition talks stalled and leaders failed to take to the streets in support of human rights lawyer and UDP leader Ousainou Darboe with more than 50 other peaceful democratic reform protesters.

President Yahya Jammeh in an interview last week said the United Nations and Amnesty Internation ‘can go to hell’ after they demanded an investigation into the death-in-custody of a senior opposition member, Solo Sandeng.

He has also vowed to kill his political opponents.

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