Lawmakers raise concerns over Election Bill 2021

Mar 30, 2021, 10:42 AM | Article By: Adama Tine

Legislators of the National Assembly on Monday welcomed and debated during the second reading of the Elections Bill 2021, presented by the Attorney General and Minister for Justice Dawda Jallow.

Moving the motion, the minister said the objectives and reasons of the bill is to repeal the Elections Act and to enact it in line with the best practices to achieve the cardinal principles to free and fair elections in The Gambia.

According to him, the bill has taken cognizance of the fact that electoral laws must conform to the needs and aspirations of the electorates in a true democratic society for the full participation of all eligible citizens through casting of votes.

“This bill seeks to introduce a detailed procedure and analysis in the publication of final results by the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), after the conduct of a particular elections or referendum and during the declaration of results,” he noted.

Throwing light on the general merits and principles of the bill, the member for Jarra West, Hon. Kajali Fofana, stressed over the lateness of the bill to be presented to the National Assembly, noting that this is a bill that was long awaited and since the change of government, all Gambians have been waiting for the bill.

He added that what the election bill is seeking, is one of the reasons why Gambians came together to change a government, so that there would be a good electoral system in the country and free and fair elections at all times as expected in every democratic country.

“My appeal now goes to the Assembly Business Committee (ABC), to whom the bill will be committed to, to open up to all members to give their inputs so that the number of proposals and interventions during consideration stage will be limited,” Fofana appealed.

He further said there are members amongst them who have worked with the electoral system in the country for many years and those are very experienced people on the issue. Therefore, he urged the Assembly Business Committee (ABC), to invite those people to take part in their activity due to their experiences.

“Election normally predicts everything in a country, if there are free and fair elections in any country, that country is fully democratic but in the absence of free and fair elections, democracy is of no meaning in that particular country unless good laws are brought to the electoral system and make sure those laws are enforced,” he stated.