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As we go to the polls

Mar 28, 2012, 12:37 PM

Gambians will be going to the polls tomorrow to elect their representatives in the National Assembly for a five-year term, despite a boycott by some opposition parties.

Of course, Gambians are no strangers to elections. Apart from the two-year interregnum between 1994 and 1996, when the military junta was in power, Gambians have been voting since the birth of the nation in February 1965.

It may even seem superfluous to tell Gambians what to do on Election Day, but a piece of advice now and again is never a waste.

While we pray for a peaceful, free and fair parliamentary elections in the country, we would like to urge all the players in the political arena and all Gambians, in general, to work towards ensuring this.

We should avoid anything that would hinder the holding of free and fair elections, as this will go against the image of our peaceful country.

All contesting politicians should display a high sense of maturity, and treat each other with respect.

As the polling centres will be opening as early as 7am, we implore all electors to go and cast their votes on time, ideally before mid-day.

We are looking forward to a large turnout because all the aspiring candidates have worked so hard, and their supporters are not about to let them down.

We also appeal to the electors to conduct themselves with discipline and a civic sense of responsibility.

They must never allow themselves to be manipulated by anyone.

At the same time, the security personnel who will be on duty on Election Day must also conduct themselves with decorum and professionalism.

Any hint of intimidation on their part could ruin the entire voting process.

Then we turn to the journalists. These are the purveyors of news.

We heard from the IEC that, this time round, it is experimenting with counting being done at the polling centres.

We are also aware that the IEC and the national elections regulations require that only the IEC should announce the results.

The news media must, therefore, never rush to press with unconfirmed results.

In this respect, they must work closely with the media unit of the IEC to check any information, before they go to press.

As we move closer to the polls with less than 24 hours to go, we want to remind all politicians that The Gambia’s political evolution has, no doubt, surpassed the era of politics of violence and character assassination.

The more it builds up, the more the excitement!

So who are the politicians that will represent Gambians again in the National Assembly for the next five years? Only time will tell.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation”

James Freeman Clarke