Compiled by Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
On Saturday 11th May Gambian Political Parties held a dialogue with the Constitutional Review Commission at Bakau’s Ocean Bay Hotel. CRC Vice-Chairperson Hawa K. Sisay-Sabally and Commissioner Janet R. Sallah-Njie lead the discussions on Elections with Political Party Representatives. The comments from each representative have been compiled from the official CRC Facebook page which broadcasted the event live on social media.
Political Party Funding
On disclosing the source of funding for Political Parties the majority of representatives present did not wish to disclose their source of funding to the IEC. The leader of the United Democractic Party, Gambia’s majority party in Parliament, Ousainou Darboe recommends that government should establish a ‘Democracy Fund’ to provide financial support to political parties. He added that it is not rational for the political parties to submit their financial reports to the government (IEC) if the government is not giving them money.
On the other hand, Gambia Democratic Congress representative, Dr. Demba Sabally said political party funding should be liberalised. ‘Source of funding for political parties should not be the business of the state,’ he added. Gambia Moral Congress leader, Mai Ahmed Fatty and current Presidential Advisor shares Darboe’s view. The GMC leader said political parties should not submit their financial report to the IEC if government is not giving them money ‘no taxation without representation’. However, he also recommended that the constitution should deter non-Gambians from funding political parties. On the other end of the spectrum previous Majority Leader for the APRC, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta said ‘political parties should present their financial reports to the government for public consumption.’
Turning the spotlight on the selection criteria for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) most Political parties called for the IEC to declare their source of funding. My understanding is that Political party leaders want to avoid any conflict of interest by IEC Commissioners being bankrolled by future political candidates or their supporters.
Even though the GMC party leader did not wish for his party to be subjected to public scrutiny he recommended that IEC commissioners should be subjected to public scrutiny before their appointment. Mr. Kebba Jallow of People Progressive Party wants the IEC’s name to remain unchanged and recommended that political parties should not appoint IEC Commissioners as suggested by his peers. According to Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the IEC should consist of representatives from civil society.
People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism representatives Amie Sillah and Hon. Ousman Sillah recommended for IEC commissioners to be appointed by a special commission and with a term limit of 10 years.
Absolute Majority and Term Limits
With regards to absolute majority Mr. Abdoulie Dibba of PDOIS supports absolute majority in elections and a two term limit for presidents. He said presidential age limit should begin from 18 and no upper limit. APRC’s Hon Fabakry Tombong Jatta also prefers the absolute majority over the simple majority.
Below are some of the recommendations from Gambian Political Parties.
Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta supports presidential system of government and believes there should be no age limit for presidential candidates. The current APRC Party Leader also recommends that that dual citizens should be disqualified from running in future Presidential Elections. Finally, he wants Gambians to continue using marbles instead of ballot papers in future elections.
MC Cham Junior of GDC supports term limits and a presidential age limit of 75 years the young politician recommends no academic requirement restrictions for presidential candidates.
Momodou Sidibeh of GMC supports Presidential term limits while his party leader, Mai Ahmad Fatty recommends that the IEC should use more technologically advamced biometric finger print reading for future elections.
On the contrary to GDC’s MC Cham Jnr, Mr. Kantong Gassama of NCP said minimum presidential academic requirement should be a university degree he also recommended that non-Gambians should not occupy senior government positions in The Gambia. NCP’s Mr. Omar Camara recommended for the IEC to be given the power to demarcate boundaries.
NRP’s Mr. Pateh Baldeh supports term limits for the presidency and believes that high school leaving certificate is sufficient for the highest public office in the land.
Filly Suso supports presidential system of government, adding that presidential term limits should be introduced and there should not be any academic requirement for the presidency.
Hon. Amie Sillah supports presidential age limit of 30 to 80. She also recommended for the president not to establish charity organizations but members of his/her family can.
Fatou Touray of PDOIS supports presidential system of government and that ministers should be put to public scrutiny first before appointment.
Mr. Edirisa Jallow and Hon. Amie Sillah of PDOIS support papers instead of marbles in elections.
Hon. Ndey Secka supports absolute majority in elections. Mr. Kebba Touray of PPP said high school leaving certificate should be minimum academic requirement for presidents.
Hon. Lawyer Darboe of UDP supports system of government that is hybrid of the presidential and parliamentary. He added that a dual national cannot be a president. He added that age should not be an issue in presidential requirements.
Mr. Amadou Sanneh of the UDP recommends paper ballot and spot counting should be reinforced in the new Constitution. He supports term limit for IEC commissioners.
Hon. Sulayman Saho supports a hybrid version of the system of government and that presidential age limit should begin from 18 and no upper limit.
Abdou Rahman Jallow supports term limits for presidency. He said a dual citizenship holder cannot be a president.
Sheikh Faal stated that young people should be given the chance to steer the affairs of the state in leadership. He said Africa needs visionary leaders, but not PhD holders to be a leader.