By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Ahead of Gambia’s presidential election, President Adama Barrow and the five other contesting candidates signed a code of conduct to guide their campaigns and address eventualities after the polls.
Following the refusal of 3 of the presidential hopefuls to accept the outcome of the polls as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission and the ensuing tension, the commitment of the candidates to the code of conduct has been brought into sharp focus.
On 11th November 2021, four out of the six Presidential Candidates; Hon ANM Ousainu Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Independent Candidate Essa Mbye Faal, Abdoulie Ebrima Jammeh of the National Unity Party (NUP) and Hon Halifa Baboucarr Sallah of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) signed the agreement.
The remaining two Presidential Candidates, Adama Barrow of the National People’s Party (NPP) and Hon Mamma Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) subsequently also signed the agreement.
Here is a factsheet detailing the various sections of the code of conduct.
(A tweet from the Ministry of Justice Official twitter account published on 18th November 2021 announced the signing).
TOWARDS PEACEFUL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE GAMBIA:
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR CANDIDATES
- We the Candidates to the December 4, 2021 Presidential Elections in the Republic of The Gambia, having been duly certified by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to contest the Election, met at The Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre on this 11th day of November 2021, at the instance of the Gambian Populace based on persistent demand for securing peaceful elections and the judicial resolution of electoral disputes;
- Expressing our appreciation to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), the Government of the United Kingdom, and to International IDEA for their support to this process;
- Reaffirming our commitment to the tenets of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, (1997), the Elections Act (2009), the Inter-Party Committee (IPC) Memorandum of Understanding and Code of Conduct (2017), and the IPC Peace Pledge also known as the Jangjangbureh Peace Accord (2021);
- Being committed to taking all necessary and appropriate measures to consolidate our democracy and to preserve The Gambia’s well-deserved reputation as a haven of peace, stability and constitutionalism on the African continent;
- Renewing our deep commitments to peace in all our political activities before, during and after the December 4, 2021 Presidential Elections, and hereby declare as follows:
i. To run issue-based political campaigns at village, town, city, district, constituency, municipal, regional and national levels;
ii. To publicly condemn violence, intimidation and political thuggery at any time i1. during the Election Process;
iii. To refrain from, and condemn the use of religious, sectarian, ethnic and tribal politics to campaign;
iv. To refrain from making or causing others to make in our names or in the name of our party, any public statements, pronouncements, declarations or speeches that have the potential to incite any form of ethnic, tribal or religious sentiments, and which could impede access to eligible voters by political opponents;
v. To strongly condemn all acts of electoral violence, whether perpetrated by ourselves, our supporters and/or opponents;
vi. To cooperate with the IEC and other political parties and candidates in ensuring orderly scheduling of political activities to avoid clashes of political processions, meetings, rallies and other activities at the village, town, city, district or constituency levels;
vii. To not engage in vote buying;
viii. To take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure the safety and protection of electoral officers from any form of threat, abuse or violence and to assist in the protection of election materials including voters’ register from willful damage, destruction or theft;
ix. To cooperate with IEC and law enforcement institutions to act professionally and impartially in investigating electoral disputes whether at the polling station, community, constituency, regional and national levels;
x. To accept the results of the Elections as announced by the Chairperson of IEC;
xi. To restrain our supporters from resorting to violence in the aftermath of the Elections;
xii. To resort to judicial processes to address disputes which may arise from the Elections;
xiii. To commit ourselves and our political parties and supporters to the monitoring of adherence to this Code of Conduct by a Committee of Eminent Statesmen and Women, Traditional and Religious Leaders;
xiv. To take up the responsibility of communicating the tenets of this Code of Conduct to our followers.
This Code of Conduct is adopted at The Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre, The Gambia, on 11th November 2021.
This article was first published by FactCheckGambia.org in the link below.