By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Chairman and senior officials of the independent Electoral Commission as part of the preparation towards the Parliamentary Elections, on Wednesday 1st March 2017 met with Mayor Bah, councilors and parliamentarians of Banjul. This meeting is part of the ongoing sensitization tour of the IEC meeting with local councils and and traditional leaders as well as parliamentarians in all the regions in the Gambia which started on Friday 24 February 2017 and ended on Wednesday 1 March 2017.
According to madam Isatou Jallow Ndure IEC Commissioner for Banjul who was speaking on behalf of the IEC Chairman said the aim of the tour is to equip the stakeholders with the relevant knowledge and information that the participants need to be able to participate properly and effectively in the electoral process.
Madam Jallow Ndure underscored that it is key for political parties and candidates to respect the right and freedom of other parties. She added that candidates should campaign and disseminate their political ideas and principles without fear. “To ensure that the rules of the game are followed , the IEC came up with code of conduct that ensure that no party or candidate will harass or obstruct , destroy or frustrate the campaign efforts of any party”she asserted. She further urged people to put Gambia first and not personal interest.
Mayor Abdoulie Bah on his part hailed the IEC for the initiative in meeting with the Local Councils. He also recalled the efforts that have been done by the IEC to ensure free and Transparent Elections hoping that a similar momentum will continue to the upcoming parliamentary elections as well as the local government elections in 2018.
Participants took the opportunity to expressed some of their challenges during the past elections, such as people having a valued voters card but their names didn’t appear on the voter list, others were a different Voters card numbers others having longer digits and others shorter among other concerns.
The Chief Electoral officer Sambujang Njie during his intervention to tie concerns he said people who have encountered having a voters card while their names cannot be seen on the list were people who did double registration. He urged the Councilors to tell their people from their communities to report to the IEC offices for any difficulty or constraint before the elections.