Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has cautioned his supporters against violence as electioneering campaign in the country kicks off ahead of presidential polls on December 1.
In a speech on the public broadcaster, Jammeh likened political violence to a “bushfire” that could consume the country, and hence called for peaceful campaigning in elections where he comes up against two other candidates. He is seeking a fifth consecutive term since coming to power in 1994.
‘‘Our campaign is focusing on peace and security and not for violence. Violence is like bushfire. You can know where it starts but you won’t know where it will end.
“Our campaign is focusing on peace and security and not for violence. Violence is like bushfire. You can know where it starts but you won’t know where it will end.”
‘‘Therefore let us campaign peacefully, vote peacefully and then celebrate our victory,” the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.
A coalition of opposition parties have picked a single candidate, businessman Adama Barrow of the United Democratic Party (UDP), to run against Mr Jammeh. The third candidate is largely seen as an outsider in the race.
Rights campaigners, Human Rights Watch, recently accused the government of employing repressive measures against the media and opposition in the round up to the polls. It alleges a torture squad, linked to the presidential guard, is terrorizing opponents.
AFP further reports that on Wednesday, the government released one of three members of the press, photojournalist Alagie Manka, who was arrested last week for taking pictures of the president’s supporters.