Gambians prepare to go to the pools on April 12 for the Local Government
elections which will show them vote their councilors, chairpersons and Mayors
in local councils, the country’s election commission, Independent Electoral
Commission (IEC) last week trained journalists and Civil Society Organisations
(CSO) on elections held at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) conference hall
The Commission’s chairman Alieu Momarr Njai said the training is another milestone in The Gambia’s electoral history, saying the ongoing 2016-2018 electoral cycle is at its final stage of implementation.
He said the cycle included the successful conduction of voter registration, last presidential and legislative elections. “The Commission is fully gearing up for the successful conduct of another landmark local government elections scheduled to be held on 12th April and 12th May 2018.”
He said the elections would be conducted on two separate days resulting from a recent constitutional amendment. “The training is aimed at engaging the media and civil society organisations to enable them effectively take on their roles and responsibilities in the electoral process,” Chairman Njai said.
Commissioner Isatou Jallow-Ndure said for IEC to adequately implement its mandates, it needed the collaboration of stakeholders such as the media, civil society organisations and the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) particularly in the area of voter education.
She said the role of civil society organisation in election process is important because they deal with grassroots. “We all know that democracy can only be attained through educating people and not just registering and voting.”
According to her, freedom of expression is an integral part of democracy, “saying this fundamental right guarantees members of a society to be able to receive information without censorship or interference. “Role of the media therefore is critical. It is the media that distribute information and educate the population. They should therefore work to the highest professional standards.”