Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Defeated GNOC Presidential Candidate Petitions IEC, Sports Ministry…

Bax Touray (pix by Gambiasports)
The defeated presidential nominee of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC), Mr. Abdoulie Bax Touray and his supporters has petitioned the Independent Electoral Commission and The Sport Ministry, challenging the manner in which the February 12, 2011 elections was conducted.
Touray’s camp whose boycott of the polls on Saturday, had little or no effect on the elections process, came along with a petition to the GNOC Complex on Mile 7 in Kanifing. “And a boycott was inevitable.” In the event, the General Body of the GNOC voted 26-0 to elect Alhagie Momodou Dibba as President, replacing the erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces Lt Gen Langtombong Tamba who was arrested, charged to court and convicted of plotting a coup in 2009.

However, in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), whose mandate it was to conduct the elections.  Touray and Co said “We respectfully submit that, we are law abiding citizens with a deep respect for constitutional authority, of which the process for conduct of free and fair elections is a fundamental pillar.”
”The IEC ensures the conduct of credible elections premised on a voters list agreed by parties, verified and endorsed by the Electoral Authority as per that Constitution, in this case, that of the GNOC under whose authority are the elections scheduled of 12 February 2011 are being conducted, as no voter list was presented to us by the IEC or the GNOC Bureau.”
According to them, the list of voters unilaterally presented to the IEC by the GNOC for the aborted 20th October 2010 elections was inaccurate and unconstitutional. The list from the NAM Select Committee Report clearly indicated that, there report was INTERIM hence the list was deemed as INTERIM.
“The International Olympic Committee in endorsing the date for the elections clearly reconfirmed that the voters list must respect the provisions of the GNOC Constitution. For the second time, this is not the case, due to the manipulations of the IOC Member,” the letter said.
“We petitioned the NAM Select Sub-Committee on youth and sports contesting the voter list they presented as per Appendix I. We also respectfully petitioned the President of the Republic of the Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh as per Appendix II. We also petitioned the President of the International Olympic Committee Chevalier Jacques Rogge as per Appendix III.”
The letter added: “We have the highest respect and honour to reaffirm that the GNOC elections should be conducted based solely on the provisions of the GNOC Constitution premised on a level playing field with due regard to the fundamental pillars of FAIR PLAY  and RESPECT, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.”
“Olympism and sports teaches us the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. We must demonstrate this by leadership and example for our athletes and the Youth.”
The petition, signed by 16 sporting associations noted that the “The code of ethics of the IOC underpins the fact that FAIRNESS IS paramount. The governing bodies of sports must therefore be seen to be uphold and defend the principles of FAIRPLAY and enforce their code of ethics and conduct, even against members who compromise these principles.”
It was Martin Luther King, who said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere”. Our integrity and conscience does not allow us to be part of a process that is unconstitutional, it concluded.
A similar letter was also addressed to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, stating that the National Sports Council Act of 2000 clause 11(1) reads: “The Council’s shall ensure the election of an Olympic Committee in accordance with the Olympic charter for the purpose of ensuring The Gambia’s effective representation at each Olympic Games and for carrying out functions relating thereto”.
“Did you authorise the IEC to conduct the election on behalf of the NSC as required by law – IF YES, did you provide the list of eligible voters to the IEC as per the GNOC Constitution?”
It concluded that “We would appreciate your timely response to this petition as a matter of utmost priority bearing in mind that the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission is required to certify and sign the results of elections conducted under its purview.”

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