|Carayol, IEC Chairman|
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Banjul has rescheduled the date for Voter Registration within a period of 44 days from March 5 – June 17, 2011, just 24 hours after the announcement of an earlier scheduled date of 2nd May to 12th June, 2011.
According to the Gambia’s Electoral Commission, the change of date and expansion of the voter registration exercise is due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
During a press conference on March 30, 2011 at the IEC Headquarters in Kanifing, the Chairman of the IEC Alhaji Mustapha L. Carayol told journalists that the process will include Saturdays, Sundays and even public holidays. He also declares voter cards issues in 2001, 2004 and 2006 null and void, as of May 1, 2011.
“Upon successful completion of the voter registration exercise, the Presidential Elections will be held on 24th November 2011, to be followed by National Assembly Elections in the first quarter of 2012 and Local Government Elections in the first quarter of 2013,” he said.
On the conduct of voter registration, he said 200 registration teams will be deployed across the country and it is the objective of the IEC to bring registration teams to the door step of all voters.
In the process, he said some changes will be effected in the number of registration centers whilst new centers will be opened to accommodate growing settlements and to provide better access to electoral services top voters.
“The list of registration centers and teams movements will be announced over the media (radio and newspapers),”he said.
He urged all voters to register in large numbers and it is important for them to know when a registration team will be at “your area” to enable one to register on time. He also said the IEC will invite at least one agent from each political party to be with each registration team throughout the registration period, but at each part’s expense.
He said the role of agents is to observe and note down observations for submission to their respective parties, but they must not interfere in the registration process.
He stressed that the agents must not influence, induce, intimidate and bar any applicant during registration and the IEC has the prerogative to accept or send away any agent from a registration center.
He also urged all Gambians to desist from attesting for under aged and aliens as this is a crime in the laws of The Gambia. “The Gambian Voter ID is exclusively for eligible Gambians,” he noted.
Earlier on, Mr. Carayol noted that the IEC has in exercise of its mandate under Section 16 of the Election Decree, as amended, and Section 43, subsection 1(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, published in the National Gazette of 22nd March 2011 the conduct of a general registration of voters. The publication also includes the dates for the conduct of the voter registration as determined by the IEC in accordance with the law.