Mr. President, the number of candidates vying for the presidency is too many for a country like The Gambia.
It will bring confusion and by now, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) should strategise to see how to go about this heavy task. Voters need to be sensitised very well for better understanding of the electoral process.
Mr. President, according to the IEC, there are 18 registered political parties, with four more in the offing to be registered. So far, there are 12 independent aspirants.
The chairman of IEC Alieu Momar Njie told the press that his institution should fund every candidate 2 million dalasi for their drum boxes.
Mr. President, the number of parties and independent aspirants for the presidency in the 2021 elections will mean huge expenditures on logistical preparations by the IEC.
The political environment is toxic for a small country of 2.2 million people with 962,152 registered voters. There are 1,540 polling stations.
Nomination of candidates will take place from the 30th October to 5th November 2021, whilst the Presidential campaign begins from 9th November to 2nd December. Election Day is 4th December 2021.
Mr. President, to lessen the political temperature and to encourage a manageable democratic dispensation in the interest of peace, security and stability of the nation, the IEC should raise the bar for nominations to downsize the number of parties and candidates to be allowed in the elections.
In countries with larger populations such as the US, UK, and in most western democracies, there are usually only two main parties.
Most of the candidates are not known to the public.
Some candidates only want be known, get funds or get top jobs or split the votes for compensation.
Finally Mr. President, the number of cases of armed robbery in the country is on the rise again as reported on social media. The gangsters are well armed, use spray gas to neutralise people and ask them if they have saved money, take all their necessary belongings like TV sets, mobile phones and laptops etc. People should be educated not to leave substantial amounts of money at home. They should save it at the banks.
The police should be well equipped and supported with the necessary logistics like transport and other incentives to crack down the robbers who have no mercy for the people. Toll numbers should be introduced to contact the police easily. All the security agents including the army should do night patrol in remote areas. The public should cooperate with the police and inform them in time of any crime around their surroundings. Neighbours should exchange mobile numbers and support each other against this malaise.