Jan 9, 2009, 5:15 AM
In a statement issued this Tuesday, the GMC said the Commonwealth has effectively endorsed the “Final Declaration of the United Alliance of the UDP and GMC” in its report and also corroborated the G-6 in its conviction not to legitimize a fraudulent process by taking part in legislative elections with hands and feet both tied behind the back by the IEC.
Below we reproduce the full text of the GMC statement issued to this paper:
In the just released Commonwealth Election Team (CET) Report on the November 24th 2011 Presidential Elections, the team of Commonwealth Expert Mission to The Gambia, concluded that the electoral process was fundamentally flawed and skewed heavily in favour of the incumbent APRC.
It detailed the defiant refusal of the Independent Electoral Commission in enforcing the provisions of the Elections Act against the APRC, in the face of clear and overt transgressions of the elections law. It also detailed the conduct of the security forces and their role in the process, both of which substantially crippled the opposition, to which the IEC posed blind eyes and deaf ears.
The Report also scathingly cited the extensive media bias of the GRTS against the opposition before, during and the aftermath, contrary to the “Guidelines” issued by the IEC, and which attracted no response from the IEC either.
In effect, the IEC was a silent collaborator in efforts to undermine and marginalize the opposition, its voices and visibility.
Our position on the excessive abuse of the incumbency to the height of illegality was also corroborated by the Commonwealth.
The atmosphere of fear, intimidation and press repression negatively impacting the constitutional right to free speech was also captured by the Commonwealth Report.
The recalcitrance of the IEC to inexplicably limit the campaign period to eleven days was frowned upon by the Commonwealth, and no doubt this was intended to favour the ruling APRC. It cannot be failed to be noticed that the Report detailed the adverse impact of the interference of local government officials such as Governors, District chiefs and alkalolu on the process, to the great disadvantage of the opposition.
The Commonwealth has effectively endorsed the “Final Declaration of the United Alliance of the UDP and GMC” in its Report. It also corroborates the G-6 in its conviction not to legitimize a fraudulent process by taking part in legislative elections with hands and feet both tied behind the back by the IEC.
We are therefore further justified and found an ally in the Commonwealth in our rejection of the ‘bogus and fraudulent results’ as announced by the IEC. Certainly we appreciate the limitations on the Commonwealth in not going as far as vitiating the results at this stage, having been over-taken by events.
However, both the Commonwealth and the ECOWAS were identical in their conclusions. It is a vindication of ECOWAS which had earlier withdrawn its staff on the basis that the whole Gambian election was one big joke! The EU Report also adopted a similar position.
GMC has always maintained that the results of an election cannot be deemed free and fair if the process leading towards that election are neither free nor fair. Equally, it would be a contradiction to offer that an election could be “free but not fair” for the two are inseparable. One cannot have your cake and eat it.
From our perspective, the APRC government remains a trespasser in power. The rejection of the United Alliance (GMC/UDP) of the ‘bogus and fraudulent results’ implies non-recognition of a trespasser occupier in power. For GMC, it remains a usurpation of the will of the people, and therefore unsustainable.
For ECOWAS, it should not be sustained for in our view, it remains a flagrant violation of Article One of the Protocol (A/SPI/12/01) on Democracy and Good Governance. Article 1 (b) of the Protocol states: “Every accession to power must be made through free, fair and transparent elections”.
The position of ECOWAS that election in The Gambia was not free and fair implies that the Party in power accessed power, though through ‘elections,’ but in a manner contrary to accepted democratic practices. The Protocol concerns itself with the entire process, not the limited campaign period.
For the Commonwealth, the Secretary General told the Vice President that The Gambia should be mindful of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles, and the Commonwealth values and Principles adopted in Trinidad & Tobago in November 2009, which The Government claimed to commit itself to.
This admonition would be better appreciated within the context of the Commonwealth Report, citing these same concerns publicly stated by Commonwealth Secretary General Sharma to the APRC government at State House only yesterday (Monday 23rd April 2012).
We are ready to continue to work with Gambians, ECOWAS, and the international community in empowering civil society and our colleagues in the opposition to ensure that conditions for change are implemented.
are appreciative of the lead support provided by the British Government,
through DfID, the EU and the
further urge ECOWAS, the Commonwealth, the British Government, the European
imperative importance are: judicial independence, neutrality of the security
and armed forces and lastly press freedom. These are the building blocks of
legitimacy and due process. We call on our citizens to remain vigilant and
committed to enforcing their citizenship rights. I urge you to be audacious in
defending your rights and in working for a genuine pluralistic political system
in our country. Long Live the Republic of The
Dated the 24th day of April 2012.
Mai Ahmad Fatty, Esq
GMC Party Leader