Tuesday, June 6

Pressure group frowns at IEC Director of Communication –

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

By: Nyima Sillah

The coalition of Progressive Gambians (CoPG) frowned at the IEC Director of Communication, Makan Khan, over the dismissal of genuine concerns express by citizenry regarding his statement in the earlier press release on the prevalence of electoral malpractice. 

In a statement shared with The Voice newspaper, the pressure group said the criticisms need to be regarded as advice in bettering the performance of the IEC rather than mere disapproval. Therefore, it would have been very prudent to establish a transparent investigation into the matter before issuing a dismissal of genuine concerns expressed by the citizenry.

“We deem it hypocritical to warn GDC presidential candidate Mama Kandeh to refrain from using Yahya Jammeh’s audios on the 2021 presidential campaign trail, but right for the Chairman of the IEC, Alieu Momar Njie, to stand shoulder to shoulder, taking pictures with the president at the polling station on an Election Day. In the mind of many political observers and concerned citizens, this is suggestive of the ruling party having undue influence on the Independent Electoral Commission.

“This suspicion is not helped by knowledge of the fact that the chairman of the IEC serves in that capacity at the pleasure of the president, who has the power to hire or fire him. The Chairmanship of the Independent Electoral Commission is a very important job with real consequences on the public perception of the institution. That age is taking a debilitating toll on the chairman and is apparent for all to see during election nights. 

However, the coalition also said the Chairman, Alieu Momar Njie, with all due respect to him, should resign from the job by virtue of his age, giving way to a younger and more dynamic person to fill the position, adding his speech impediment is a serious concern to almost every Gambian.

“It has also been virtually normalized in The Gambia that the ruling party can go scot-free flouting electoral laws through using the chieftains, Alkalos, and civil servants in canvassing for votes. The abnormality in our politics is also demonstrated in the politics of inducement characterize by giving foodstuffs, cooking utensils as well as cash to electorates around election periods.”

The conduct of unfair elections has been the trademark of the IEC in the previous regime and seems to be business as usual today “It is our collective responsibility to keep The IEC on its toes and ensure that the necessary reform of our electoral laws is implemented for the consolidation of the minimal gains we have made in our nascent democracy.”