By Mustapha Jarju
The United Democratic Party (UDP) has frowned at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on its failure to take a step over electoral inducement and fraud that the incumbent National People’s Party (NPP) is doing ahead of the Saturday local government elections.
Speaking at the press conference held at Pipeline yesterday, Yankuba Darboe, UDP Candidate for the Brikama Area Council Chairmanship said vote buying and inducement that people are alleging is not only an allegation, noting they have proven evidence to the police as narrated in the Banjul case.
He added that he is also having a similar narrative in West Coast Region (WCR) with a lot of stories of electoral malpractice by the NPP and the unfortunate thing in WCR is that the police are not doing anything about it.
“Unfortunately the Independent Electoral Commission, who is supposed to be taking lead in this is also not taking serious action, because we expect them to come up with a press release advising all parties to desist from such actions, but they are not doing that,” said UDP Chairmanship candidate Darboe.”
Darboe, however, added that the NPP is using the Local government minister Musa Drammeh and the Governor of WCR, OusmanBojang to gather Alkalos to convince their people to vote for the NPP.
“We have clear evidence and even video evidence where they call the Alkalos of Kombo East District to the house of the Alkalo of Faraba trying to force them into prevailing on to their people.”
Deputy party leader of the UDP, Aji Yam Secka, alleged that the NPP party is giving three hundred thousand dalasis (300,000) to each of their candidates and the candidates nominated by the National People’s Party are 99 aspiring candidates.
“If you multiply D300,000 by 99 candidates the total is going to be twenty-nine million, seven hundred thousand dalasi (D29,700,000), where are we heading to as Gambians, it is very sad, she stated.”
On his part, Tombong Saidy, Administrative Secretary for Media and Communication of the UDP said, the NPP’s only means for winning the election or having some candidates is to induce people and offer money to candidates for them to withdraw from the elections.
“We have seen PPP candidates who withdrew in URR and some UDP candidates also withdrew in Njau and all those were induced, in fact, some of them were accompanied by Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Hon Seedy Njie to the Janjangbureh IEC office for the person to offer his letter of withdrawal. These are things we will not accept,” he said.
Meanwhile, explaining the NPP electoral fraud incident in Banjul, Modou Sarr, a UDP prominent member from Banjul said, he received a complaint from a concerned person in Banjul with regards to vote buying by Antouman Ngum one of the National People’s Party militants in Banjul who was caught by Hon Touma Njie the National Assembly Member for Banjul South.
Mr. Sarr said he immediately went to Banjul police where the matter was reported where he met some supporters of the NPP, he said that was the time he went directly to question the police officer there on duty about the matter.
“I, as a main stakeholder of the political spectrum of this country, would be very interested to know what transpired here. That was the time the police officer told me that the (matter) has already been taken care of, I said how was it taken care of? And he felt reluctant to answer my question,” he said.
Sarr added that the following morning he went to the said police station and ask for the commissioner responsible for the Banjul administrative area but he could only find the deputy commissioner he explained everything to the deputy commissioner as to what has transpired, and that was the time he (the deputy commissioner called the station officer at Banjul station.
“When the station came in, he (the commissioner) asked him whether he knew what has transpired there yesterday evening, or he said, yes! The commissioner then asked him what did you do about it, and he said, I just told them that is a civil matter, that was the time I cannot control my temper, I told him to look you cannot even distinguish what is civil and what is not civil this is electoral fraud and inducement.
He continued “The police promised to take an appropriate step on the matter but since that day he still not hears from them.”