#National News

PAG observes improvement in voter registration

Jun 28, 2021, 12:48 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Peace Ambassadors – The Gambia (PAG) a voluntary non-profit peace education and advocacy organisation observer reports have indicated  improvement in some aspects of Independent Electoral Commission(IEC) operations resulting in fewer instances of malfunctioning equipment as compared to the first week of the registration exercise.

Bubacarr Sambou, PAG President said during a press conference held at its office in Kanifing last Thursday that registration officers are following most of the registration procedures.

However, Mr Sambou said while most registration centers open on time, PAG observers noted that some registration officials report to registration centers late and close earlier than the stipulated time.

He also said that enforcement of Covid-19 safety protocols remain lax, adding that their observer reports also showed a decline of registration staff present when centers were opened.

He further said that 140 of 158 observer reports showed that centers were accessible by all registrants while 18 of 158 reports showed that centers were not accessible with applicants required to climb upstairs to register, which potentially posed a problem for some persons with disabilities.

PAG observers also noted a decline in the adherence to Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation Covid-19 safety guidelines.

He added that PAG observers also witnessed fewer instances of disruption, intimidation and harassment at some registration centers.

He said other critical incidents of note reported by PAG observers included turning away of registrants by IEC officials even when they were in the queue before 5:00pm; IEC registration officials reporting to registration centers late; and the unsuccessful attempts of under aged registrants to register using the Seyfo and Alkalo attestation.  

PAG therefore encouraged IEC to employ concrete measures to address the issues of registration centers closing by 5pm or earlier when there are people still in the queue.

It also encouraged security personnel to consistently enforce the Covid-19 regulations at various registration centers assigned in order to ensure the public is protected during the conduct of the voter registration exercise.

They admonished political parties to adhere to IEC regulation stipulated in its recent public statement to have only one agent per center. It finally encouraged party supporters to stop spreading false information, hate speech and violent actions during this period.

PAG trained and deployed 53 observers and 6 coordinators across the country to observe the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) voter registration exercise.

Peace Ambassadors – The Gambia has since 2006 monitored every election held in The Gambia including presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

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