Gambia Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Coalition of election observers have
shared their finding report of the country’s pre-local government elections
with the media during a press conference at Paradise suites hotel on Friday.
The report project was funded by United Nations Development Programme in The Gambia to observe, report, analyze and facilitate responses for the peaceful conduct of elections.
The CSO coalition was spearheaded and coordinated by the West Africa Network for Peace Building -WANEP -The Gambia; a homegrown national platform established in 2006 to facilitate civil society participation in election and good governance.
WANEP national coordinator Anna Jones said the nomination process was relatively peaceful and stable with no incidents of violence observed. She held that aspiring candidates were vetted by the IEC as prescribed under Section 42 of the Election Act to ascertain their eligibility to contest.
According to her, the campaign period was generally peaceful but political actors observed inciting languages including hate speeches and discrimination against women. “Use of state resources in the form of vehicles was also observed in the campaign.”
According to her, monitors also observed the lack of adequate security provided to campaign in most cases and incidents of clashes between political parties at rallies were observed which also aggravated the political situation.
The report indicated that the voting process was observed to be generally peaceful and orderly and voting materials were adequately available at polling stations.
Jones said in many polling stations, it was observed that some basic procedures were not fully complied with such as the immediate sealing of ballot drums and some of the ballot drums were tied with metal wires instead of seals.
The coalition indicated in the report that they are of the opinion that that April 12 councilors election was free, fair and transparent.