By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has just concluded a two-day workshop starting 26th February 2020 on the validation of a set of recommendations on Electoral Reforms. According to a speech by IEC Chairperson, Alieu Momar Njai, his institution conducted “series of meetings with stakeholders in the electoral process to chart the way forward”. He went on to highlight that the “meetings were held in all the administrative regions of The Gambia in June of 2019”.
Speaking to IEC CEO, Mr Samboujang Njie after the event, he informed Gainako that the sixteen (16) registered Political Parties mentioned in the Chairperson’s speech is actually “currently fourteen (14) political parties are registered and two (2) are being processed for registration and that will bring it to sixteen”. According to the Chairperson however “the list may go on and on by all indications.”
According to IEC Chairperson Alieu Momar Njai, they are “pleased to note that the political parties work amicably through the Inter-Party Committee (IPC)”. After months of negotiations with a number of stakeholders the IEC highlights its main “areas of concern in the electoral process include the following: Demarcation, Registration of voters, Nomination, Campaign, political finance and media, Voting and counting, Declaration of Elections results, etc.”
“All of these areas have direct bearings on the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections. The spirit of the stakeholder consultation meant encourage participation from the grassroots of the Gambian electorate, taking a bottom-top approach.”
IEC Chairperson: Election in April 2020, Next Voters Registration
The Chairperson went on to highlight that the IEC will first “conduct a by election in April” after which they “will engage the government for funding to have a complete voters registration list” as almost a decade has elapsed since the previous list was compiled “in 2011”. He continued to explain that “there was supplementary four years ago but there are so many people now are asking me personally how will they vote. Particularly the teenagers who are now 18 and because of that we have submitted our budget to the government so that we will make sure that the next elections like the other one before will be held freely and fairly.”
“For us our mantra is freedom, transparency, accuracy we made it so clear, so transparent that when you lose you will know that they did not vote for you and when you win you are the people’s choice. We will engage all stakeholders during the next two days to go through the whole process. And we are open for any questions whether we are here or not.”
After the validation workshop the Attorney General’s Office will draft a bill which will be subjected to Parliamentary Approval.