IDEA engages NA contestants, media ahead of April 9 race

Apr 6, 2022, 11:45 AM | Article By: Ali Jaw

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) on Wednesday engaged candidates vying for seats in the forthcoming National Assembly election, media, religious leaders, Civil Society Organisation’s (CSOs) and politicians among others in a roundtable discussion ahead of the 9th April parliamentary elections.

The brief engagement came after the successful facilitation which saw the signing of a code conduct as part of the mechanisms to guarantee peaceful and harmonious passage of the highly anticipated forthcoming elections. The move was geared towards imploring on concerned stakeholders to safeguard the tenets and provisions of the code and to ensure they are upheld by aspirants.

During the engagement, Maurice Engueleguele, head of Project in The Gambia, IDEA, Africa and West Bureau, reminded that the code of conduct is not only about sanity. 

“It is also about good behaviour throughout the electoral campaign, and one of the changes we have observe during the signing of this code of conduct in this room is the spirit of dialogue between candidates.”

Another element the top diplomat highlighted is that out of the 231 candidates confirmed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) 19% are women, which he said, is the first of its kind in the Gambia.

“This is the highest percentage of women candidates in West Africa as well for over ten years. It’s only Rwanda that has achieved 25% female candidates for the last elections.”

“Lastly, we have one person with disability. I reckon that he will win, not because of the disability, but because he got the courage to run and he got this courage because of the code of conduct, which created the trust in the electoral process and which consolidates the trust in the chairman and the chairmanship of the IEC.” 

Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a Ghanaian diplomat, politician and academician, called on stakeholders, particularly CSOs and the media to ensure that candidates respect the provisions of the code of conduct they have signed.

Chairman of the Christian Council, Rt. Reverend Yaw Odico, challenged stakeholders to make the Code of Conduct their business.

“I want to implore all of you that we keep to this Code of Conduct, not only to the politicians, not only their supporters, not only the independent candidates, but all of us. It is our duty, it is our responsibility to ensure that we cash in this code of conduct and make it our own, make it our business.”

The President of the Supreme Islamic Council, Sheikh Alh Essa Foday Darboe, also called for peace and harmony during and after the elections.