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EDITORIAL - A Nation in Crisis: Is the Gambian Independent Electoral Commission an Independent Body?

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EDITORIAL - A Nation in Crisis: Is the Gambian Independent Electoral Commission an Independent Body?

As the Gambia's Presidential election is fastly approaching, shake ups and interference in to the affairs of the country's Independent Electoral Commission responsible to run a free and a fair elections, has made many to question the credibility of the commission. Many others are beginning to wonder if the Presidential elections slated to take place in two months, will be free and fair. Many are also questioning; why the President decides who should lead the commission and how the composition of the commission should look like?

An Independent Electoral Commission in any proper democratic setting should operate independently without any affiliation to neither the ruling party or to any opposition party. The head of such a commission should entirely be responsible for the day to day running of the commission. He decides the whole registration and electoral process based on the fundamental guiding principles, as stipulated in the constitution.

In the Gambia however, that is not the case, the electoral commission remains vulnerable to disruption and interference by a self perpetuating authority that has no regards for the will of the people. The countries fragile democracy therefore remain threatened as such vital institutions could not be effectively operational and functional in accordance to great democratic norms, ethics and values. To estimate the impact, one must satisfactorily analyze the ongoing and most recent crisis that is looming over the tiny states Independent Electoral Commission. We must ask ourselves why the chairman and three other employees of the commission were fired. What are the reasons for all such government actions? Who is the next Chairman and how is he or will he be appointed?

To most Gambians and friends of The Gambia, government action stemmed from frustration due to the level of Political awareness amongst the citizens and an evil intention of manipulating the results of the coming elections. Many also believe that the incumbent government seems to understand that playing the cards of democracy fully well, will only resort to its demise and the voices of people will emerge victorious. These are some of the analysis given by political pundits both at home and overseas.

Now that the credibility of the Independent Electoral Commission is at Stake, what should government and the opposition camps do for a containment of the situation? Dialogue is the fundamental key to restore credibility of the Commission. This is a national issue and as partners in development, it is important for both government and the opposition to consider the following recommendations in laying the building block for a vibrant democratic election that we can all call free and fair. Some of the ways in which one could restore confidence in our electoral systems includes but not limited to the following;

. The opposition and government in the first place must respect the will of the people, understanding that an electoral commission should be Independent and not subjected to any influence.

. To restore the credibility of the Electoral Commission, it is of paramount importance that the Gambia Bar Association under the auspices of the Courts be responsible for appointing the Chairman and employees of the commission.

. There should then be a re-registration of voters following claims by the opposition and concerned Gambians about illegal voter registration.

. The Independent Electoral Commission should finally work out a modality of counting the votes at respective polling stations in the presence of International observers and all other party representatives.


Mr. President, with the most current crisis looming over our Independent Electoral Commission, a high alarm has been raised amongst all Gambians cautioning as to what your intentions are during the coming Presidential elections. For the past few years we have witnessed the metamorphosing of the commission under your directives, which to many, is only geared towards satisfying your interest. And it seems as that has been the case all the time.

One thing you need to realize is that the world has change and Gambians are far more different today than ten years ago. Mr. President Leaders always come and go and I therefore urge you to respect the will of the people. Events in the world today should be your best food for thought as a young leader. Could you six years ago imagine that SADDAM HUSSEIN, a one time powerful icon in the International arena be facing trial now? Could you think about the Way former Zaire leader MOBUTU was chased out of Kinshasa?

Mr. President, as the elections is fastly approaching, I urge you to exercise patience and restraint, and most importantly respect the will of the people. The Gambia is a small country and we are all inter-related in some how. That bond of solidarity must not be let tarnished under your leadership. You should also see the opposition as partners in development and not your enemies.

In conclusion, Mr. President, you must understand that all eyes are on The Gambia under your leadership and in the spirit of solidarity and brotherhood, do not abuse your authority and respect the fundamental rights of citizens as stipulated in the constitution and International conventions. You should always remember the oath you took during that swearing ceremony. Have a great week.


1 Commentaires

  1. Auteur

    Allons Y Molo

    En Octobre, 2010 (18:36 PM)
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