The National Human Rights Commission [NHRC] voter registration report stated that the malfunctioning of printers disrupted voter’s card printing.
The report specified that the disruptions occurred both in the Greater Banjul Area and beyond during the process of the 29th May to 11th July general voter registration.
“For instance, some Registration Centres such as Latrikunda Piccadilly, BCC and Baati Njol reported that printing of voter’s cards was disrupted due to the malfunctioning of their printers. At Latrikunda Piccadilly, it was found out that due to the disruptions in the printing cards because of the malfunctioning of the printer, already registered applicants were asked to come for their voter’s cards at a later date. The Supervisor and other Officers noted that some people had started picking their cards, whilst others were expected to show up before the registration period ends. However, the Commission was informed that some cards remained uncollected from their previous location at Latrikunda Mosque (which they covered from 29th May to 12th June 2021),” NHRC voter registration report stated.
The report added that the situation has led to the delay in the issuing of cards to applicants in Batti Njol in the Central River Region [CRR].
“At Batti Njol, the delay in the issuance of voter’s cards led to [a]protest from the villagers. In Wassu and [a]few other Registration Centres, the NHRC was informed that their printer malfunctioned, and voters’ cards could not be printed for about 3 days. When asked how the Centre would ensure that all registered persons would receive their cards, the Supervisor noted that the uncollected cards would be handed over to the Alkalo for distribution to the rightful owners,” it added.
Quality of printed cards
The commission has also observed that the quality of the cards printed in Latrikunda Piccadilly has depreciated with white lines across the photo of the cardholders.
“During the monitoring exercise, the Commission was informed about the quality of the printing of the cards. At Latrikunda Piccadilly (Agriculture Camp), it was observed that the voter’s cards printed, at the time of the monitoring visit, displayed white lines across the photos of the card owners…,” it observed.
The Commission said when they inquired about the said lines on the voter’s cards issued, the Supervisor on the ground informed them that the white lines started appearing on the cards, a week prior to the NHRC visit; and added that the matter was reported to IEC, but to no avail, as of Friday 25th June 2021.
However, the report informed that during the Commission’s follow-up visit to the centre on the 8thJuly, the supervisor informed them that the faulty printer was replaced with a new one, a day before.
The NHRC findings further stated that supervisors at Model Bantaba Sukoto in Busumbala, in the West Coast Region, and Fass Njagga Choi registration Centres in Nuimi in the North Bank Region, among others, reported occurrence of a similar incident at their centres.
The Commission conducted the findings in order to monitor the voter registration process to ensure that registration procedures are compliant with the guidelines set out by the IEC and are in accordance with human rights principles, to collect evidence-based data and report on any form of human rights violation that may occur during the registration process; as well as to safeguard or monitor the right of all eligible Gambians to participate in the upcoming elections; and to prepare and present to the IEC and other relevant stakeholders, the findings of the monitoring, including any challenges in the registration of voters and recommendations to address the issues observed during the monitory visits.