#Article (Archive)

‘We want fair, transparent & credible electoral process’

Feb 27, 2020, 12:51 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Abubacarr Tambadou, the attorney general and minister of Justice has affirmed that their aim as a government is to have fair, transparent and credible electoral process as the country prepares for the much anticipated 2021 Presidential polls since the ouster of President Yahya Jammeh in 2016.

The country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) recently conducted regional consultative meetings on electoral reforms and produced a list of recommendations for the amendment of the Elections Act.

Justice Minister Tambadou was speaking yesterday during the validation workshop organised by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with the Africa and West Asia Programme of International IDEA (AWA IDEA) and the Independent Electoral Commission on the recommendations for the amendment of the Election Act for all stakeholders held at a local hotel in Senegambia.

He maintained that the objectives of the exercise are to ensure that there’s fair, transparent and credible election process going forward, saying they want to have a comprehensive review of the election Act.

He added: “The second objective is link to the first objectives which is to prevent conflict. I believe that the root cause of electoral violence is not the result of election or the voting on election days. I think the root cause is the credibility of the electoral process,” he opined.

“When political players take ownership of electoral process, it becomes theirs and everyone has a stake on it. Then, there’s more credibility and there’s more trust, confidence and the result of any election is easily acceptable.”

He, however, said when that is not the case then there is room for doubts and you create room for disagreement and then of course it will go out of control. “So the idea here is to make sure that all the political players participate in this process and take the process as their own so that we can avoid potential conflicts.”

“We want a level playing field for election in this country going forward. This is the opportunity for us to have that because this is the first time in the history of this country that the electoral process is being shifted in this consultation and inclusive way.”

The chairman of IEC, Alieu Momarr Njai, said IEC continues to make all efforts to build on the gains made in the past in order to establish a sound and enduring democratic culture based on the right of the citizenry to participate in the development of the country and to maintain at all times a free, fair and transparent electoral system.

“Attention has therefore been focused on the delivery of electoral services for the people of The Gambia to have the opportunity to participate in the development of the nation through the exercise of their right under the franchise to hold diverse political opinions, associate freely without undue hindrance and regularly elect their representatives in genuine elections, in an atmosphere of peace and tolerance.”

Sead Alihodzic, senior programme officer from the Electoral Processes of International IDEA, reiterated the commitment of International IDEA to support democratic processes in The Gambia. It’s one of many events of which International IDEA is contributing to and partnering with national and international partners in constitutional building processes, transitional justice among others.

Electoral processes, he added, are indispensable instrument in democratic transition and democratic development. “I am happy that we are now working closely with national stakeholders in this important crusade.”