Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nothing has moved since the mock-voter registration

IEC Chairman
The Sales Director of ZETES PASS Thierry Delteil Mc Williams has told The Voice that nothing has moved since his last visit to The Gambia in January 2010, during which time his company was vying for a contractual seal with Gambia’s election body. 
The Belgium-based company specializes in the provision of ID Cards, Voter Cards or Licenses to Governments in Africa, the Middle East, South America and other parts of the world.
In January 2010, ZETES PASS together with a Canada-based company, CODE  Incorporated Digital Registration Solution were in Banjul to present their credentials and to conduct a mock-voter registration exercise, with a view to securing a contract with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia to register voters for the 2011 General Elections.
However, in an email to The Voice Newspaper, ZETES PASS’s Sales Director Government ID Business Africa and the Middle East, Thierry Delteil Mc Williams said “since our last visit to Gambia in January 2010, nothing has moved.” “We are still expecting some decision from the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia,” he said.

For CODE INC, it chooses not to respond to our emails one-week-on at the time of going to press. It is not clear if it had been awarded the contract or not, nonetheless, with the Commission’s budget for 2010 to 2013 pegged at over D152 million, the provision of biometric voters’ cards will cost more than D61 million.
The race to secure a contract for the production of voter registration cards to Gambians attracted seven companies (including Gambian owned, Pristine Consulting), according to the IEC Chairman Alhajie Mustapha L. Carayol, who was speaking at a day long programme on presentations and demonstrations on how to conduct the process of Biometric Voter’s Cards at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on January 12, 2010.
Credible elections
“A complete and accurate voters list is the starting point of a credible election. An election that is credible must prevent voters from voting more than once and unregistered voters from voting,” he said. “After the last cycle of elections from 2006 to 2008, all stakeholders were consulted on the electoral process with a view to critically analyse it. After thorough reflection and consultations, the Commission decided to go for biometric-based solutions for the registration of voters.”
He said: “the need to shift from traditional method of registering voters which uses instant Polaroid cameras and films together with cold laminate pouches to a modern and state-of-the-art technology cannot be overemphasized.”
The IEC operates on its guiding principles of fair play, integrity, neutrality, independence, credibility, transparency, accountability and professionalism, with an obligatory funding by the Government as enshrined in Section 44 of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia. 

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