Thursday, January 3, 2013

IEC announces ‘final elections’ in The Gambia

IEC Chairperson Mustapha L. Carayol presided over a widely criticised presidential election in 2011 (Photo Credit: SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)
Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that Local Government elections will take place on April 4, 2013.

The election of mayors for Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council, and councilors for 114 Wards in eight local government councils of The Gambia is the last to hold in a cycle of elections (2011-2013) that have already witnessed presidential and national assembly elections.  

The Commission’s chairperson, Mustapha L. Carayol delivered the notification on Thursday Jan. 2, 2012 as authorized by Section 40 of the Elections Act.

The local government elections are confined to areas of local authority like the Banjul City Council (BCC), Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), and Area Councils at Brikama, Kerewan, Mansakonko, Janjanbureh, Kuntaur, and Basse.

In BCC and KMC, the mayors and ward councilors would be voted in office by the electorate and the rest of the Councils only Ward Councilors would be voted for, said Mr. Carayol who was speaking at the IEC Office in Kanifing.

Like they did in the past, Mr. Carayol said a campaign across the country intended to educate voters and secure a massive voter turnout is scheduled for Jan. 7 to April 3, 2013.

Local government is simply an organisation that provides public services (markets, roads, electricity, water, recreational facilities etc.) in a particular town or area, controlled by officials chosen in local elections.

Local institutions have been criticized for inadequate capacity which means the system has little or no impact for effective contribution to the good governance of the country and its fledgling democracy.

On November 24, 2011, the IEC presided over a presidential elections widely regarded not free and fair which saw the return of incumbent Yahya Jammeh to power with a massive 72 per cent of the popular vote. 

That election compelled the Group of Six (comprising of six opposition parties) to make minimum demand for the IEC to put in place guarantees that will ensure a free and fair National Assembly election.

Their demands not heeded to by the Commission, the group decided to boycott the National Assembly Elections held on 29 March, 2012.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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