‘Elections won on voter registration day’

May 21, 2021, 11:48 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Madi Jobarteh, acting country representative for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy has said that elections are sometimes won on voter registration day and not on voting day.

The human rights defender who focuses on promoting democracy and human rights in The Gambia was speaking at a local hotel on Thursday when he made these remarks. He stated that for that reason, underage citizens and non-Gambians must not be allowed to register to vote in elections.  

The former executive director of the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in The Gambia (TANGO) described elections as one of the greatest sources of peace, saying “therefore we should take everything around elections seriously.”

Jobateh, who is also a member of the Foundation for Legal Aid Research and Empowerment (FLARE), also said that elections have to be inclusive, credible, fair, free and peaceful, noting that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has to be seen to be independent.

He further said that political parties should have policies that address inclusion, participation and representation, saying women, young people, minority and persons with disabilities should also be included by political parties in the executives.

Lamin Ceesay, 1st vice president, Gambia Federation for Persons with Disabilities, said building rams alone for persons with disabilities during voter registration is not enough as they have people with different disabilities.

He also said that persons with disabilities are excluded by IEC during the voter registration process.

Dodou Jah, deputy spokesperson for The Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), urged IEC to consider extending the voter registration period for the benefit of all citizens.

Ansumana Ceesay, senior programmes officer, National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), said political parties should not only stop at sensitising their supporters to register but also teach them the importance of elections and democracy as well as voter registration and to exercise their franchise.

He stated that this is the time for political parties to gauge if they would win or not.

Bubacarr Sambou, president, Peace Ambassador – The Gambia, urged political parties to observe the voter registration to avoid chaos. He also urged IEC to also take swift action of any complaint they receive.

Barwudu W. Johnson, National Democratic Institute – consultant, Gambia, said the report will boost public interest in the electoral process in The Gambia. 

Peace Ambassador – The Gambia on Thursday presented the monthly situational analysis report on Voter Registration process and Election Bill 2021 in The Gambia as well as discussed recommendations to address current challenges in the political climate of the Presidential Elections 2021 to stakeholders.

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