Minister Sillah urges IEC to clear all doubts

Jan 6, 2021, 11:50 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrahim Sillah has urged the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to explicitly explain to Gambians the reason for the postponement of the voter registration which was set to commence in eight days’ time.

The Information minister told West Radio on Tuesday that the electoral body needs to clear the air, saying the executive has no hand in the process of the IEC and it is interested in credible, free and fair elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission on Monday issued a scanty statement notifying the public that the commission has postponed the general voter registration exercise schedule for 14 January 2021 ‘due to logistical challenges beyond its control.’

However, people began to ask questions about the need for cancelation of the exercise while others began to speculate if the executive may had have an influence.

The minister therefore urged the electoral council to clear the doubts of Gambians, adding that they are equally interested in the process.

“Out there you have some people coming up with all these conspiracy theories that these things are happening so that the 2021 elections will not be held; so many things out there,” the Information minister said.

He added “That is why it’s important that IEC comes out with a statement that is explicit enough to clear all doubts because we are also interested in credible, free and fair elections.”

He reacted to concerns that IEC may be having logistical issues because the half a billion (D500 million) budget requested has been slashed to little over D300 million.

The minister said the executive is prohibited by law to touch the budget, saying it’s only the parliament that is bestowed with such powers.

He praised the parliament in its wisdom for the budget allocated to the IEC which he thought should be enough for the institution to run its affairs.

He, however, expressed surprise that the IEC recently said all plans were in place for the general voter registration as scheduled only for them to backtrack with the statement of postponement.

Gambians were set to begin a general voter registration on 14 January 2021 ahead of the December 2021 presidential elections, but the IEC has now postponed it until further notice.