The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia has offered a contract to CODE Incorporated, a Canadian company for the registration of Gambian voters.
This was unveiled to journalists at a press conference organised by the IEC at its Headquarters in Kanifing, on March 30. 2011.
“A new digital voter registration system will be introduced, to be supported by CODE Inc, an internationally recognized Canadian Company, with the required capacity to implement The Gambia’s voter registration exercise,” the IEC Chairman Alhaji Mustapha L. Carayol said on Wednesday.
The Canada-based CODE Inc was short-listed along with a Belgian Company; Zetes PASS out of seven local and foreign companies including Gambia’s owned Pristine Consulting.
CODE Inc and Zetes PASS were in Banjul in January 2010 to vie for a contractual seal by making presentations and conducting “mock-voter” registrations exercises.
Early this year, Zetes PASS Sales Director Thierry Delteil McWilliams told The Voice that “Since our last visit to Gambia in January 2010, nothing has moved. We are still expecting some decision from the IEC”.
Now that something has moved though not on the side of Zetes PASS, the IEC said the voter registration process is funded by the Gambia Government to the tune of more than sixty five million Dalasis (D65, 279, 297, 506.10).
Mr. Carayol reiterated that after the last cycle of elections (2006-2008), three conclaves were convened by the IEC across the country. One of the most prominent resolutions that stakeholders in the electoral process made was the need to change the mode of registration.
And the digital system is adopted mainly due to the fact that the previously used Polaroid Cameras and films are no longer available in the market. “It is more economical to adopt the digital system as it is more cost effective and sustainable. This system has in place adequate security features integrated in both the voter card and the data capture processes to ensure an accurate list of voters,” he argued.
He also noted that the IEC will be involved in a massive voter education campaign and would sought the partnership of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media to ensure mass participation and understanding of the electoral process.
To this end, he said a voter education a guideline has already been put in place by the IEC to help foster better collaboration in harnessing the efforts and objective of the different role players.
In an earlier development, the IEC scheduled April 28, 2011 as the date for the election to the position of National Assembly Member for Wuli East Constituency. Nominations will be held on April 18 and the campaign will start on April 20, 2011.
The decision followed the demise of the seat holder, Mr. Bakai Camara in February 2011.