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NYP, PAG brief journalists on election observation findings

Nov 29, 2011, 12:27 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The National Youth Parliament (NYP) and Peace Ambassadors (PAG), formerly Youth Ambassadors of Peace, last Saturday held a press briefing on their election observation findings at the PAG office in Kanifing.

Speaking at the briefing, the Acting Speaker of NYP, Aminata Hydara, said the NYP and PAG were jointly engaged in an observation of the Gambia’s presidential election 2011.

The sister youth organisations observed the election jointly with seventy young people accredited by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and deployed across the country for the exercise.

Madam Hydara stated that the NYP facilitated the participation of its membership for the observation of the 2011 presidential election countrywide. “This will impact greatly on the participation of young people in the country’s political process,” she said.

According to her, the NYP is mandated to serve as representative of young people and spur their effective and positive participation in national development. It provides forum for young people to discuss issues with the authorities that confront them as youth.

The NYP beliefs that The Gambia’s greatest resource is its youthful population and that through their active and full participation in the electoral process, there will be free, fair and transparent elections.

 Madam Hydra also said the observers went round from one polling station to another to directly cover a substantial number of polling stations during the voting process.

During the observations, voting environments were also observed to ascertain whether they were conducive and free of any party affiliated materials.

In their report, the turnout of voters, especially young people, was high and “very encouraging”.

“We observe that there was no shortage of voting materials negating the possibility of hindrances to the voting process across the country; there were enough security personnel deployed in all the polling stations to overcome unforeseen security threats, and the voting process was all conducted in free, fair and transparent manner.”

However, they also observed that some polling stations were not spacious enough to accommodate large numbers of voters at the stations, while other polling stations were located on highways thus making it difficult for road users to pass and also creating lots of inconvenience for both polling staff and the electorate.  They also observed the occurrence of a few cases of underage voting.

For his part, Madi Jobarteh, a youth activist who also works with TANGO, said it was good that they made good recommendations.

The occasion was chaired by the president of the YAP the Gambia, Lamin Sanyang.

It would be recalled that the NYP and the PAG were funded by the IEC to conduct voter education exercise across the country as well as to observe the polls on the day of election.