The nation should be going to the polls on
6 April, which is less than four weeks from now, although the Coalition and its
political parties are still determining how to partake in the election.
However, a salient point raised by the IEC Chair at the commission’s recent meeting with the security forces is that it is determined to ensure that the upcoming elections are free and fair, as usual.
Several factors are always raised or considered when it comes to free and fair elections.
These start with the integrity of the electoral commission to ensure that a level playing field is there for all to partake well, starting from the registration of visitors to the day of voting or polling day. All these processes should be free and fair; in other words corruption-free.
It is good to state that much of this was observed by the IEC for the December 1, 2016 presidential election except for the hitch that resulted from the transposition of the Basse votes, and subsequently the final results, which were actually swiftly corrected.
It is expected that for the parliamentary elections such grave error would be serious guarded against.
Meanwhile, the expressed determination to ensure free and fair elections by the IEC is appeasing, and should be encouraged and supported to ensure that our elections in The Gambia are never found wanting.
Although we are aware of the type of person our exiled former leader is, we can also say the ground for him to take advantage of the situation was laid by the IEC, who made that grave mistake in figures/results posting.
However, the Election, as stated by the IEC Chair, is the business of all, so essentially all stakeholders and the electorate are encouraged to fully partake in the parliamentary electoral process, the latest stage of which is nomination of candidates, slated for Thursday 9 through Sunday 12 March 2017. So, all are encouraged to partake in the process to ensure free and fair elections at the end of the day.
And that is why we agree with the IEC Chair in stating that: “The IEC continues to make the clarion call that election is the business of all. In view of this, the commission wishes to fully collaborate with all stakeholders in the electoral process.”
A free and fair election, we also note, depends on freedom of speech, assembly, association and movement to ensure all members of the electorate in the society participate in elections as enshrined in sections 25 and 26 of the constitution.
Free and fair elections depends on a transparent electoral process, impartial electoral commission, equitable electoral legislation, equal opportunities for all participants, absence of intimidation, application of the proper procedures and acceptance of electoral results, as confirmed by the IEC Chair himself.
This, we believe, should be the order of the day as we proceed towards the polling day of the current Parliamentary electoral process.
“Our word must be our bond. ”