National voter registration commences, 1M Gambians expected to register

May 31, 2021, 11:43 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) began the national voter registration on Saturday, 29 May 2021 and a million Gambians are expected to register ahead of the first post Yahya Jammeh presidential election.

Registration centers opened as early as 8 a.m. in the Greater Banjul Areas on Saturday morning.

According to the IEC, 250 voter registration centers will be opened to the public daily and a total of 740 voter registration centers throughout the country at the end of the 44 day period: May 29-July 11, 2021.

Alfusainey Sowe, who was waiting for his voter's card to be processed after taking his photo at Latrikunda Sabiji Registration Center, expressed his excitement, saying: "I'm very excited because it's my right as a genuine citizen to have a voter's card in order to cast my vote because your vote is your say, you don't have the right to complain outside, while you don't have a voter's card. If you have a voter's card you vote for the person that you want to lead you."

Lamin, who got his new voter's card at the same registration center said, he was delighted that he encountered no issues, adding that I produced all the documents required.

"Just three or 5 minutes you get your voter's card," he said.

Adama Colley, a party agent for Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), expressed satisfaction with the entire process on the first day.

Colley, who was at the registration center as early as 7:30 a.m., said "the turnout is good but the complaint is so many people are saying that they didn't hear about this voter registration; you know some are not current in viewing television or listening to the radio but they were informed by individuals."

"I am very satisfied, everything is going smoothly. There is no problem right now."

The supervisor at the Latrikunda Castle Registration Center, Omar Gitteh, said at the beginning they had challenges with documentation, adding that so many people came without the proper documents. 

He said there was an improvement as the day went by after thorough explanations of the required documents to get the card.

He said a number of them brought their old and expired voter's cards.

Aside from the challenges with people bringing expired documents, the process according to Mr. Gitteh, was pretty smooth, saying that people complied.

He reminded the general public that one of the required documents for issuance of a voter's card, include: a valid National Identity Card (ID), Passport, a Birth Certificate and or an Alkalo's attestation.

The Independent Electoral Commission is mandated to organise a national voter registration every 10 years.

The last national voter registration was conducted in 2011 ahead of the presidential election which former President Yahya Jammeh won.

The commission conducted a supplementary registration in 2016 ahead of the December 2016 presidential election.

The Gambia will hold a Presidential election on 4 December 2021.

More than 14 political parties will attempt to democratically dethrone President Adama Barrow who is seeking a second term in office.