#National News

‘Gambians peacefully participate in councilor by-elections’

May 20, 2022, 11:33 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

The Election Watch Committee (EWC) has said that, based on reports from its observers deployed to polling streams in all four wards during the councilor by-elections, Gambians peacefully participated in the elections but faced few challenges in casting their votes.

The by-elections were held on 14th May 2022.

The Election Watch Committee is a partnership of 3 organisations (Peace Ambassadors – The Gambia, Activista – The Gambia and National Youth Parliament) and other network members with different expertise and background collaborating to observe elections in The Gambia.

EWC is financed with assistance from the National Endowment for Democracy and technical support from the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

Delivering the report last Monday at Peace Ambassador, The Gambia office, Ndegen Jobe, deputy speaker of the National Youth Parliament said  Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) polling officers generally followed procedures during the voting, closing and country process.

She added that, party agents were present in the vast majority of the polling streams observed by EWC and did not object to the count in nearly all observed locations.

However, she said Covid-19 protocols were largely not followed by IEC officials and voters.

She further said that, during the voting, closing and counting process, Election Watch Observers reported some incidents that occurred at their assigned streams, but was quick to add that the incidents were not serious.

EWC recommended to political parties and candidates to utilize the prescribed legal process to pursue any complaints or grievance as well as to ensure party agents are trained on election procedures and understand their role in observing the voting and counting process for future elections.

To security forces, EWC recommended that they continue to demonstrate neutrality and professionalism in dealing with electoral related matters.

To IEC, EWC recommended that it publicly provides polling stream level results in a machine-readable format in a timely manner as a measure of transparency.

It also recommended that, IEC ensures all polling locations are accessible to all voters, particularly the elderly and physically challenged as well as take additional measures to make the process more accessible such as written material for the hearing impaired and listing the candidates’ names in Braille on the ballot drums.