Jul 16, 2010, 1:42 PM
The leader of the opposition Gambia Party for Democracy and Development (GPDP), Henry Gomez, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the total number of voters registered, one week after the commencement of the exercise.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our reporter yesterday, Gomez said the announcement by the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, that 189, 897 voters have been registered countrywide during the first week of the exercise “is not encouraging.”
He tasked the IEC to do more in the area of sensitization, so that people can register and vote in the forthcoming presidential, legislative and local government elections.
The Independent Electoral Commission earlier said that it was targeting over 800, 000 eligible voters, ahead of the polls.
However, the GPDP leader expressed doubts as to whether the Commission will meet its target, considering the current trend of turnout at registration centers across the country.
“It is discouraging to see that the first week of this important exercise failed to bear fruit, as indicated by the figures released by the IEC on the first week of voter’s registration in the country,” Gomez added.
In the interview, the GPDP leader also expressed his belief that all political parties should be allowed air time at the state television and radio, declaring that these institution belongs to Gambians not the state alone.
“Gambians have to understand that the utmost right to make objective choices is when they are registered and vote during elections.
“Our successes and achievements, as well as our development and progress as a country depend on the taxes paid, the commitment and hard work of citizens,” Gomez, who has vowed to contest the 2011 polls under his party’s ticket further noted.
The opposition leader said his party if elected will inculcate the spirit of good governance and leadership, which he said are the cornerstone of sustainable development, hinting further that his party subscribed to the commitment that they will serve the cause of the Gambian people at all cost.
“To achieve this development and instill discipline and good governance in the state, the GPDP if elected into office will revisit and reform major government institutions which form the pillar for the provision and facilitating of the most important necessities of life,” he added.
In his view, providing shelter and food is not only a basic necessity, but a right which is the fundamental perquisite to poverty alleviation and eradication.
“The GPDP will reform sectors like agriculture, health, education, justice, youth and sports, trade and employment, interior, defence and women affairs,” Gomez stated, adding that the sectors will be upgraded to meet maximum standards in discipline and professionalism.
“There will be incentives in all services to attain standards, professionalism and integrity. There will also be motivation in the form of a housing scheme, free medical services and higher training in all government services to attained quality,” he further stated.
In conclusion, the GPDP leader called on the IEC to ensure that the planned polls are free, fair and transparent so that people’s voices will be heard and respected.