Upper Saloum NAM claims IEC allocated enough money to hold voter registration

Jan 8, 2021, 11:31 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The National Assembly Member for Upper Saloum Alagie Mbowe says the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) may have logistical issues leading to the postponement of voter registrations but the commission has been allocated enough money in the budget to hold voter registration and presidential elections.

The Upper Saloum MP Mbowe who also serves as a member of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly was responding to a question posed on West Coast Radio, citing if slashing the IEC’s budget might have been responsible for the postponement of the voter registration scheduled for this month.

Although Mr. Mbowe admitted that IEC is making efforts to register Gambians outside the country compared to previous elections when that was not the case, the commission has been given enough funds to cater for all that.

While categorically stating not knowing the reason for the postponement, the NAM for Upper Saloum said, “maybe it could be other things I’m not privy to why they want to suspend the registration, but personally I believe what has been allocated to them -over 300 million - I think is more than enough for them to do what they need to do in terms of voter registration and also in terms of conducting the presidential elections come around the end of this year.”

The IEC’s highest budget allocation by the parliament in a single year for the past three years was D35 million and this amount has risen significantly to D314 million for this year and the member of Finance and Public Accounts Committee thinks that’s enough.

“I can also say that I think what parliament approved is really appropriate for them to be able to do their registration both in and out of the country compared to really what actually happened in the previous years when we had elections in 2016, and remember also we had election in 2017 and we also had elections in 2018.

“ Even though the only difference is they are trying to register voters that are outside this country and then at the same time they are also going to probably use a new system according to what they told us but for a fact I don’t really think that has something to do with that.”

The IEC blamed logistical issues for postponing the general voter registrations scheduled for 14 January, 2021.