|IEC Chairman Alhaji Mustapha L. Carayol|
The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia, Alhaji Mustapha L. Carayol has disprove of claims that he was involved in a series of “correspondence” with the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD) for a possible voter registration of Diaspora Gambians.
The New York-based MDD, a nonpartisan movement which said it is “working to support the restoration of genuine democracy and respect for human rights in The Gambia”, had in May 2011 claimed to have written to the IEC in expression of their desire to exercise their civic responsibilities to register and vote in November 24, 2011 presidential election.
However, the IEC Chairman said he only spoke to them once on the phone and made it clear that his institution does not have the resources to conduct an overseas voter registration exercise.
“I did not make any correspondence with them. I only spoke to them once and that was on the phone. I told them clearly that the IEC does not have the resources to facilitate the registration of Diaspora Gambians,” Mr. Carayol said during a press briefing at the IEC Office in Banjul on June 23, marking the end of the national voter registration exercise.
In an open letter to the IEC widely publicized in Gambia’s online media, the MDD acknowledge receipt of a letter from Mr. Carayol dated May 12, 2011, which it said was in response to theirs dated May 8, 2011 in which they expressed their desire to exercise their civic responsibilities to register and vote in the forthcoming presidential election.
The Gambian organisation, MDD said the Chairman clearly stated in his letter that “the IEC would under normal circumstances be obliged to extend its activities in the Gambia Diaspora, but due to lack of funds, the Commission will not be able to do so this time, but that will in future be considered.”
The MDD adds that it made consultations with other concerned Gambian organizations and democratic institutions who expressed willingness to work with the IEC in meeting the cost of registering qualified overseas Gambians in Senegal, UK, USA, Sweden and Ghana among others.
And for this reason, the GMDD said: “We therefore, kindly suggest that your office send us a cost estimates for registering Gambians living abroad.”
However, when asked on Thursday as to what will be the position of the IEC provided that Diaspora Gambians choose to fund the overseas voter registration process. Mr. Carayol said: “That’s a very good question but it’s too late for this year’s elections.”
- Author: Modou S. Joof