Gambia’s electoral commission briefs observer missions and diplomats
|IEC Chair, Carayol (pix:iec)|
The Gambia Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), headed by Alhagi Mustapha L. Carayol on Tuesday brief both local and international election observer missions and Diplomats to the Gambia on its preparedness for the conduct of the November 24, 2011 presidential elections.
The Commonwealth, African Union (AU), and the European Union are among international observer mission accredited to monitor the election.
Speaking at a local hotel, Mr Carayol, the IEC Chairman noted that IEC was established under Chapter 5, Section 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, and it is mandated under the Constitution and the Electoral laws to register political parties, conduct and supervise the registration of voters for all public elections and referenda.
He also added the IEC mandate is to determine the dates, times and places of public elections and referenda and ensure they are observed within the laws. The commission shall announce the results of all elections and referenda for which it is responsible.
Established in 1997, the IEC has conducted two Presidential Elections, two National Assembly elections and one local government election and several by-elections for the National Assembly and local government. The third presidential election under the IEC’s purview is set for Thursday.
“Presently, there are ten registered political parties with the Commission and they are the Alliance for Patriotic Reo-Orientation and Construction (APRC), National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD), United Democratic Party (UDP), National Convention Party (NCP), National Reconciliation Party (NRP), National Democratic Action Movement (NDAM), People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP) and Gambia Moral Congress (GMC),” Mr Carayol noted.
He told observers that out of the lot, three candidates are contesting for the presidency: Mr Yahya Jammeh nominated by APRC, Mr. Ousainou ANM Darboe nominated by UDP, and Mr. Hamat Bah, an Independent candidate nominated by four political parties (NADD, NRP, PDOIS and GPDP).
He also noted that the country is divided into 7 administrative regions with an IEC regional office in each administrative headquarters, namely Banjul, Kanifing, Brikama, Kerewan, Mansakonko, Janjanbureh and Basse.
He revealed that there are 1302 polling stations across the country with Banjul administrative area having 34 polling stations; Kanifing administrative area 269 polling stations; Brikama administrative area 399 poling stations; Kerewan administration area 165 polling stations; Mansakonko administrative area 83 polling stations; Janjanbureh administrative area 181 polling stations; and Basse administrative area 171 polling stations.
Seven hundred and ninety six thousand, nine hundred and twenty nine (796, 929) registered voters are eligible to cast their votes this time.
One hundred and fifteen Assistant (115) Returning Officers have been employed to work in the forty-eight constituencies countrywide, with counting centers at each constituency, and seven collation centers located at the IEC regional offices except in Mansakonko where the location center will be at the Rural Development Institute.
Four thousand and three hundred and fifty two (4,352) polling staff are contracted to man the polling stations.
Polls will open at 7am and close at 4pm local time, but if voters are in the queue at 4pm, they should allow voting. Carayol concluded that other IEC officers, the security chiefs and the political parties will cover the other facets of the electoral process.
For his part, the Commissioner of Police in charge of security, Ousman Gibba of the Gambia Police Force, assured observers that enough security will be put in place on Thursday for the smooth conduct of the polls. “Security personnel have been deplored in all parts of the country and there are stand-by units incase any problem,” he said. “”The Police will be at the polling centers to maintain peace and will take all orders from the presiding officers of the IEC.”
- Author: Modou S. Joof