IEC again?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It is totally disappointing to hear that the IEC has had another error in the just concluded Local Government Elections. On Friday its Chairman, Alieu Momar Njie, announced that the United Democratic Party (UDP) got 62 seats, the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) 23, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) 3rd with 18 seats; PDOIS won 7 seats, Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) 1 seat, National Reconciliation Party (NRP) 5 seats, while NCP and GPDP did not win any seat in spite of the three seats won by independent candidates.

It came as a big blow to the reputation of the country’ body, as if they are being haunted by ex-dictator Jammeh’s ghosts. Should we seek for “a more God-fearing IEC?” One is tempted to ask. To our dismay, the IEC revised the election results to correct some wrong figures announced within 24 hours,

According to the final statistics released by the Commission, the final tally showed that the opposition APRC won 16 instead of 18 seats, and so did the GDC, which pulled a total of 25 seats and not 23 as previously announced. All others remained the same.

This is the second time the IEC is making such a correction to its final declaration of poll results since December 2016 Presidential election. The last one nearly cost us our peace and stability; the nation was sent into panic as it gave Jammeh grounds to reject the whole results put together. ECOWAS was compelled to intervene and civilian population displaced. That was a costly mistake.

Now, we are wondering what the cause of repetitive error in the tabulation and collation of election results is. As if they need reminder that the task at hands gives little room for any silly errors. Despite the fact that Yahya Jammeh knew he lost and contemplating his “life after presidency along with his cabal, IEC’s error gave them the wherewithal to backtrack on his acceptance of the results. The rest is history.

We did not want to see a repeat of such unfortunate situations that happened post 2016 Presidential elections. After the political impasse, the IEC chairman was quoted as saying that the error that occurred will never repeat itself again. Unfortunately, we have seen it repeat itself.

We therefore recommend that Momar Njie, considering his age and legacy in standing up to dictator Jammeh, retire from active duties as chair, and give way for a younger, fresher mind to take his place. This is done with all respect due to the oldness and in the spirit of promoting good governance and democratic principles in our toddler-democracy.