Local Government Elections, a pillar to grass roots democracy

Friday, November 24, 2017

Alieu MomarrNjai, chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said that Local Government Elections constitute a key pillar in promoting and building of grass roots democracy.

Mr. Njai was speaking yesterday at Election House during a press conference held to launch activities leading to the Local Government Elections slated for 12th April 2018.

He added that it brings citizen representation to the door steps of the voters, saying, it is through the representatives in Local Government that citizens can raise concern for the provision of basic social and development facilities such as roads, car parks, street lights, markets, refuse disposal, management of local resources and services.

Chairman Njai also expressed his office’s commitment to conduct free and fair elections according to the dictates of the laws of the Republic of The Gambia.

He also said that his office under Section 43 of the Constitution of The Gambia has the mandate to conduct all public elections which includes Local Government Elections.

He thanked government for providing his office the needed resources for its operations. He also thanked UNDP and EU for their support especially during the National Assembly Elections.

He went further to thank all stakeholders for the various roles they play the electoral process.

“We hope the same collaboration and commitment will be exhibited during the process leading to the conduct of the Local Government Elections,” he said.

He said they are currently implementing the activities of the electoral cycle of 2016 to 2018, noting that, the conduct of the Local Government Elections is key among the national electoral calendar.

Chairman Njai said that following the re-demarcation of electoral boundaries in 2015, the number of wards have increased from 114 to 120.

He pointed out that the nomination period for the local government elections will be held from 13th to 17th March 2018 and will be followed by a campaign period from 21st March to 10th April 2018.

He also announced that mayoral elections would be held in Banjul and Kanifing Municipality, whilst councillorship elections would be held in the 120 wards across the country.

He further said that nomination forms would be issued at all the regional offices starting from 12th February 2018, whilst replacement of voting cards will be held from 11th December 2017 to 10th January 2018 at D100.

He said the qualifications for contesting for mayoral candidacy would require that one must be a Gambia citizen; not less than 30 years of age; be a registered voter; ordinarily resident in the Local Government Area for at least twelve months before nomination; at least a secondary school graduate; declare his/her assets; pay all taxes and rates or make satisfactory arrangements (income tax clearance certificate); pay deposit of D2,500; 150 signatories of registered voters to support his/her nomination; and leave of absence from employer for public servants.

The qualification for contesting for councillorship, he said, a candidate must be a Gambian citizen; not less than 21 years of age; be a registered voter; ordinarily resident in the Local Government Area for at least twelve months before nomination; able to speak English language; declare his/her assets; pay all taxes and rates or make satisfactory arrangements (income tax clearance certificate); pay deposit of D1,500; 75 signatories of registered voters to support his/her nomination; and leave of absence from employer for public servants.

The IEC chairman announced that the commission will partner with all stakeholders in engaging on massive voter information and education henceforth. 

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb
Source: Picture: Independent Electoral Commission Chairman Alieu Momarr Njai