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CSO coalition on elections warms up ahead of November polls

Nov 16, 2011, 2:02 PM

The Civil Society Coalition (CSO) on Elections – The Gambia is warming up for the forthcoming Presidential election slated for 24th November 2011.

The Coalition coordinated by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) - The Gambia, says it notes with significance that its participation in the elections indicates a growing realization and involvement of Gambians in the democratization process of the country.

“Over the years management and administration of elections as well as election observation and monitoring in the Gambia were mainly conducted by government institutions and international organizations. But with the creation of the Coalition in 2006, Gambians have the unique opportunity to directly participate in the observation of elections in a more organized and robust manner,” a press release issued by the Coalition said. 

It states that the Coalition will conduct simultaneous trainings for over 100 individuals from over 30 member organizations on election observation from across the country.

“In all the training sessions, the 120 observers for the Presidential election will be supported by Action Aid The Gambia as well as institutional contributions by member organizations of the Coalition,” the dispatch added.

It further states that all the trained observers shall swear to the Coalition’s Election Observers Pledge, which stipulates that an observer shall conduct observation according to accepted rules, guidelines and principles. These include being impartial by not supporting or opposing any candidate or party, and reporting based on what one sees by oneself and not what one hears or is told. The Pledge also calls on observers to uphold the principles of truth in their observation and to refrain from doing anything that will disrupt the voting process or the work of the polling officials, but to be cooperative at all times.

Finally, the Pledge requires that observers do not speak to the press or publicly express their views on the elections in anyway. Observers shall respect at all times the requirements of their accreditation from IEC and shall display openly the accreditation badge.

“The Coalition calls on Gambians to come out massively to vote in the election as they determine the future and destiny of their country. Elections are one of the major indicators of democracy and a peaceful way of identifying the managers of the resources and affairs of society and should be conducted in peace and calm. All Gambians of 18 years and above with valid voter card have a right to vote,” it noted.

“As we prepare for the polls, the Coalition wishes to express its gratitude to Action Aid The Gambia for its support,” the release concludes.