President Yahya Jammeh in a recent clip recorded by the BBC claimed he needed he took his country from stone age to modern state. However it looks like he took Gamibia from stone age to voting using marbles no pun intended that’s an actual quote from the man himself who also has a habit of speaking to God, cures AIDs, switches off the internet for his citizens during elections to stop preying eyes and a lot of other things.
It’s a fact Gambia has one of the tiniest GDPs in the world but this has not stopped Gambians from being resourceful in electing their leaders. Gambia has a unique way of voting for their president – instead of ballot papers, voters use marbles where eligible voters drop the marbles indicating their preferred candidates in three metal drums representing the 3 presidential candidates painted in their party colours.
An elegible Gambian voter enter a private area that is curtained off where he or she drops a marble into one of the three drums that are painted with that party colour. Once a vote is cast in Gambia ie dropping the marble in a drum a bell rings confirming a vote has been cast. Sawdust or sand is sprinkled on the bottom of the barrel so that no second sound is heard when the marble vote is cast.
Electoral officials say the marble system all but eliminates spoilt ballots and allows illiterate Gambians to vote more easily. Although Yahya Jammeh wont call them illiterate, he claims his government pays 98% of the tution needs of his people. In the 2012 election there were only two invalid votes when people placed their marbles on the top of the voting drums.
Gambia has around 880,000 eligible voters and an estimated 1500000 marbles ie ballot papers more than enough to swing vote in any direction. Just before you laugh hard Uganda constitution through Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014 provides for lining up behind candidates during elections of chairpersons for village (LC1) and parish (LC2) levels.