#National News

Alkalolu urged to safeguard stamps amid rising demands for attestation

Jun 16, 2021, 12:26 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

A program manager at the National Centre for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on alkalolu in the country to safeguard their stamps amid rising demand for attestations.

Yusupha Bojang was speaking at the end of a recent engagement between the civic educators and the traditional authorities on voter registration.

The recent civic engagement, he added, is a dialogue that the NCCE initiated in collaboration with the UNDP, and the idea is to enlighten traditional authorities, especially alkalolu and the chiefs with regards to the ongoing voter registration exercise.

“People who don’t have the required documents just need to get attestations and go to their alkalo for his/her signature. I am therefore calling on alkalolu to safeguard their stamps and let them not give it to anybody to do it on their behalf. The alkalo may be old and need somebody to assist him, but that person should be very responsible and the alkalo should be there to monitor. That is important because there are increasing concerns that some people are giving stamps to their children to administer on their behalf.”

Bojang indicated that part of the requirement for one to acquire a voter’s card is to have an attestation and the authorities that are mandated to issue the attestation are either the Chiefs or the Alkalolu.

“Most of our local authorities are not literate in the English while most of the regulations and laws are written in English.”

He explained further; “That’s why we bring them together in order to remind them about the criteria that is required for one to get an attestation. During the conversation, we were able to understand that a lot of them got confused about whom to give the attestation.”

The NCCE officer made it clear that when the registration is done in a free and fair manner, they are hopeful that the campaign will also be done in an orderly manner.

With regards to those agents observing the procedure on behalf of their parties, Bojang said that is good because it promotes transparency and the credibility of the electoral process.

The concern, however, is some of them are taking the law into their hands and doing things that they have no authority to do.

“The engagement will help to clarify all those issues specified in the electoral act. The law says anybody that has any concern can raise it through your party or anybody that assigned you. There are procedures and we don’t need to take the law into our hands and start harassing people.”

The Chief for Kombo Central district Alhajie Jammeh K.K. Bojang and Isatou F. Cham, Lady Councilor for Sanementareng ward emphasised the need for peaceful voter registration ahead of the upcoming December polls.

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