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IEC Workshop Aims to 'Strengthen Electoral Process in The Gambia'

Aug 13, 2008, 6:54 AM | Article By: By Abba A.S. Gibba

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) recently organised a validation of the constancy report workshop, on the theme 'Strengthening the Electoral Process of the Gambia'. The workshop created the avenue wherein all the major stakeholders and partners in the electoral process came together and deliberated on the programmes and activities of the Independent Electoral Commission.

The workshop brought together the government, the electorate, civil society organisations, security services, the media, the judiciary, observers and development partners.

The workshop was held at the Tendaba Camp, Kiang, Lower River Region from 7thto the 8thAugust 2008.

The Independent Electoral Commission in October 2007, conducted a series of workshops in all the regions in the country for major stakeholders and partners to come together to contribute their various ideas. These included what is deemed fit to strengthen the electoral process in The Gambia. This validation workshop was to substantiate what was discussed and agreed upon from the regional workshops.

Speaking at the workshop, Mustapha Carayol, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, maintained that "although the IEC is the body that has the constitutional mandate for the conduct of all national elections in The Gambia, the commission is well attentive and sensitive to the fact that the electoral process does not only have to be concentrated on the functions of the commission." He noted that it encompasses a wider range of involvement from the public sector.

He added that the participation of the above mentioned sectors in the country's electoral process is highly treasured by the commission, noting that in the wider sense it safeguards the fundamental principle that elections are the business of all citizens.

For her part, Mrs. Sainabou Jaye of UNDP, who spoke on behalf of the donors, said, "it is unquestionable that such an initiative renders a significant service towards the efforts of consolidating the democratic process in The Gambia."

She added, "these positive developments, we believe, should form the basis for renewed and constructive engagement between the IEC and all stakeholders on how the electoral process can further be enhanced to provide greater assurance for the realisation of effective and transparent processes as part of the national good governance goal."