#National News

‘People don’t understand the role of NAMs as seen in low voter turnout’

Apr 13, 2022, 12:37 PM | Article By: Isatou Ceesay Bah & Jankey Ceesay

Members of the Civil Society Organizations in The Gambia believed many people still do not understand the roles of the National Assembly Members as seen in the low turnout of voters in last Saturday parliamentary polls.

CSOs are non-state, not-for-profit, voluntary entities formed by people in the social sphere that are separate from the state and the market.

In an interview with John Charles Njie, chairman of The Association of Non-Governmental Organisation in The Gambia (TANGO), who is also the coordinator of Transitional Justice Working Group, said he had been to almost 10 polling stations and the turn out remained low.

“Gambians do not appreciate the role of the National Assembly. People believe that NAMs are there to support the ruling party’s agenda, while it is the opposite as this body is responsible for holding the government accountable instead, they are supposed to be serving the people as they are our voices.” Mr. Njie said.

Omar Saibo Camara, executive Director FactCheck Center indicated that most electorates see presidential elections to be the only important elections and the rest are a waste of time.

“Electorates take National Assembly Election to be a waste to time because they won’t want to go vote for someone, whom they are not even sure will fulfill their demands or have been voting for NAMs that do not represent them which results to losing faith in others.”

Fatou M. Jawo, Chairperson of Election Observation Board Gambia Participate believes that Ramadan also contributed to the low voter turn-out in last Saturday parliamentary polls.

“Most people will prefer their religious obligations to civic and usually the time one can be free during Ramadan, the sun also starts scorching and before you now it voting time is over.” 

She urged IEC to consider the revision of the election cycle not to fall during such periods in the future to avoid voter apathy.

The National Assembly being the sixth legislature and the House of Representatives, is where members ensure that the rule of law prevails, human rights are protected, and social goods and services are delivered.