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The Ecowas Commission promise

Jun 15, 2016, 2:35 PM

The vice president of the ECOWAS Commission has stated that the Commission would send a mission to monitor the forthcoming presidential election in The Gambia on 1 December this year.

This is good news from our kinsman, although it can only become a reality when it is done.

This is because the regional body refused to take part or observe the last presidential election in 2011 in The Gambia, on the grounds that the preparations and political environment for the 2011 election were deemed “not to be conducive for the conduct of free and transparent polls”.

Their grounds, according to their fact-finding mission, were that there was some picture of intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the incumbent, lack of neutrality of state and para-statal institutions and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.

While the ECOWAS took a position of boycotting the 2011 polls, other bodies   like the AU, the UN and the Commonwealth sent in observer missions, who deemed the election to be free and fair hence accepted the result of the polls.

Well, as we approach the forthcoming presidential election on 1st December this year, it is expected that international bodies like the ECOWAS will reconsider their stance, and put plans in place to send an observer mission to The Gambia for the December 1 polls.

Of course, it is expected that Ecowas will make well-informed decisions after a thorough consideration of the calm atmosphere and the prevailing political, human rights and democratic climate in The Gambia, in taking the step to send an observer mission to the country for the December 1, 2016 polls.

But as a West African political expert, ChiagozieUdeh, says, “Let us wait and see whether the pronouncement by the Vice President  [of the Ecowas Commission] is  the definitive position of Ecowas, and what justification they will have for sending or not sending observer mission this time around [to The Gambia].”

“Watch before leaping”

The Point