EWC observes  usage of state  resources in  election campaign

Nov 22, 2021, 11:53 AM | Article By: Sulayman Waan

The Election Watch Committee (EWC) has unveiled that its election observers have witnessed or heard reports of usage of state resources such as government vehicles in the ongoing presidential campaigns.

“Twenty-two of 53 constituencies observers witnessed or heard reports of the use of state resources, such as government vehicles during campaigns,” Baboucarr Sambou, president of The Peace Ambassador- The Gambia (PAG) told journalists on behalf of EWC in a news conference on Friday. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Sambou was quizzed to specify the presidential candidate using state resource in this elections campaign but failed to state who the exact candidate is and indulging in such practices.

The Election Watch Committee comprises Peace Ambassador- The Gambia (PAG), ACTIVISTA and National Youth Parliament (NYP). The committee is the decision making body on all matters related to the 2021 election watch project and PAG serves as the secretariat of the committee.

The election watch body has deployed 53 trained election observers nationwide to observe the ongoing political campaigns. Each constituency has an election observer to observe the campaign process, preparation of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and conduct of civic education as well as voter information campaigns for the elections.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sambou further claimed 13 of 53 constituency observers have witnessed or heard reports of candidates providing money or gifts to supporters.

 “A few observers has reported hearing of instance of buying voters’ cards,” he added.

On IEC preparation

The PAG boss said 30 of 53 constituency observers reported witnessing or hearing that the IEC has begun preparations for the 4th December election in their areas.

On Civic Education

Sambou said 35 of 53 constituency observers also reported that Independent Electoral Commission, National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have conducted civic education and voter information campaigns directed at women, youth and differently-abled people. 

He was quick to add that 18 of 53 observers have reported that they have not witnessed or heard any voter information campaign in their area and added these includes election watch observers in the Mansakonko administrative area and more than half of observers in the Brikama Administrative area.

On electoral violence, he said: “It was reported by an election watch observer that three campaign supporters were violently attacked during a campaign event. 

“In another instance, an observer reported that a female supporter has been threatened for supporting another party.”

The EWC recommended the Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) and Inter Party Committee (IPC) to closely monitor the action of political parties to comply with the Code of Conduct and Code on Election Campaign Ethics.

The committee further recommended IEC, NCCE and CSOs to redouble civic education and voter information efforts to reach voters nationwide before 4 December.