Monday, July 29, 2013

The Gambia: Football Federation elections to go as planned

Delegates at a 13 April, 2013 Constitutional Adoptive Congress  blames GFF Normalisation Committee of presiding over massive irregularities (Photo credit: B.B. Baldeh/GFA/Facebook)
The Gambia Football Federation presidential election slated for July 31 this year will go ahead as planned, the GFF Normalisation Committee (NC) announced on Thursday.

Amid wrangling, confusion, accusations and counter-accusations among key stakeholders, the NC’s Vice Chairperson Alagie Omar Sey, calls for the general public’s focus on the “way forward” for Gambian Football.

“We need to forget all the unnecessary arguments and we focus on the future,” Sey during a July 25, 2013 press conference held at the GFF Complex in Kanifing.

The Normalisation Committee are here to normalise and not to stay forever when our time is over we are going but we want to live  a well structured plan behind us, he added.

Last week, the NC banned two candidates (former FA President Seedy Kinteh and Vice President Adama Halla Samba) from running for elected office following allegations of “financial misuse” and “maladministration”.  

The decision was met with stern criticism from opposite quarters as Kinteh and Samba denied allegations at a joint press conference last Wednesday.

They noted that such allegations have popped-up in the past but they were cleared by a police inquiry into the matter. They also accuse the NC of involving in a smear campaign and witch-hunt against the Kinteh-led executive committee that was dissolved by The Gambia’s Sports Ministry on March 2, 2012. 

On Thursday, NC Chairperson Sey announced that the general body of the respective regions has sent names of representative to the Congress. Observers are also expected from FIFA, football’s world governing body and CAF, Africa’s football governing body.

“I am very proud to inform you that we will continue to avoid anything that will hinder the process here to the day and even after the day of elections,” said Mr Sey - referring to the current state of wrangling in the managerial aspect of the game.

In April, GFA (Now GFF) Normalisation Committee chairperson Alhagie Omar Sey (L) said those who voted against the new Constitution will be disenfranchised in the upcoming presidential election (Photo credit: B.B. Baldeh/GFA/Facebook)
Sainey Marena, a Legal Adviser to the NC said: “As things stand everything is set and the 73 delegates drawn from the regions and other affiliated GFF bodies are expected to participate on the day of the election.”

54 out of the 73 delegates will have a voting right. The election will be transparent as plans are already in place to invite the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to send in election observers during the electoral process. 

Marcel Mendy, GFF acting Secretary General, said: “Security on the day of the GFF elections will not be compromise at any cost”.

Accommodation and transport will be provided for the entire delegate especially does coming from the regions, he added while claiming the ground will be leveled for free and fair elections.

“Violence will not be accepted at any level and plans are already in place to put up tight security because we have been facing hitches here and there in our previous gatherings,” he stressed.  

Accreditation cards will be issued to all participating delegates, hence, no individual will be allowed to enter the Stadium without an accreditation card, he warned. 

Written by Modou S. Joof
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  • The Voice Newspaper's Omar Bah contributed to this story from Kanifing

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