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9120 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2012 :  19:43:55  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message

By Abdoulie G. Dibba

Six Opposition Parties namely the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), the Gambia Party for Development and Progress (GPDP), the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD), the People Progressive Party (PPP), the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) on Thursday, 8 March 2012 told Journalist at a press conference held at the People’s Centre at Churchill Town that they have been pushed out of the forth coming National Assembly Election by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Reading out the joint statement on behalf of the combined opposition parties, Halifa Sallah disclosed that the IEC has elaborated on the reforms they would want to take and emphasised that they would do so. However he noted that they (the opposition), on the other hand, had indicated to them (the IEC) that this process of reforms would require time. According to him the IEC has promised to consult the Minister for local Government to deal with the issue of Governors, Chiefs, Alkalolu utilizing Central and local government facilities for propaganda purposes for the ruling party. Halifa asserted that they emphasised to the IEC that even the head of the civil service had appeared on the television to authenticate the candidacy of the APRC candidates and that therefore the issue is beyond the Minister for Local Government and Lands.
To address this issue he said the IEC would have to engage the head of state.
He also pointed out that the IEC has promised to engage the security Chiefs so that Security forces would not wear uniform and take the side of the ruling party.. Halifa said that they are of the belief that unless the IEC engages the commander-in-chief of the Army Forces, they will not be able to make any head way on that issue.
Halifa asserted that those engaged in fraudulent registration of voters should be named and shamed and the polling counting agents trained regarding the new system. He said that they had told the IEC that non Gambians and cell phone companies have been funding the APRC to the disadvantage of the opposition and the Commission appears helpless and cannot enforce the law.
He said they told the IEC that they are incapable of exercising their enforcement powers at the moment because there is no proactive state that empowers them to be able to ensure the necessary improvement. He said, the issue is not only good will and good faith, but one of enforcement and they believe that time was needed to undertake the necessary consultations, reforms and sensitisation in order to win their trust and that of their supporters.
He indicated that they made it clear to the commission that since it had not given the opposition audience when we requested a meeting three months ago to regularise the shortcomings they should give more time to settle outstanding issues.

Halifa expressed that despite telling the IEC that they have violated the constitution by scheduling the elections beyond the deadline of four calendar months required by the Constitution and should not find it difficult to postpone the elections to a more appropriate date the IEC insisted on holding the elections as planned. He emphasized that in that respect, they have been pushed out by the IEC from participating in the forthcoming elections and have invited external mediators to counsel the state and the IEC to ensure their participation through the postponement of the results and undertaking the necessary reforms. Below is the final Declaration issued by the six opposition parties:


7th March 2012

We the member political parties that are signatory to this Declaration

Bearing in mind that we have long adopted the policy of dialogue with the IEC rather than confrontation because of our realisation that three Chairmen of the Commission and other commissioners had been removed before the expiration of their term of office, thus eroding the enforcement powers of the Commission because of the absence of a proactive state in terms of electoral reform;

Having issued a 14 point declaration to initiate substantive dialogue with the IEC, on 28 February 2012, a copy of which was handed over to the APRC party in government , on how to enhance the leveling of the political landscape to ensure the holding of genuine National Assembly elections in particular and all other elections in general;

Having received a reply, AGC 38/119/01/(28) dated 5thMarch 2012 from the Independent Electoral Commission regarding our demand for level ground to hold multi party contest to prevent our political exclusion;

Acknowledging that the response of the IEC could form the basis of much needed dialogue and consensus on the measures that are to be put in place to ensure a relatively level ground for multi party electoral contest;

Having convened a meeting with the IEC on Wednesday, 7th March 2012, to review the measures it promised to put in place to address the concerns engendered by our 14 point declaration;

Made the following observations:
That the proactive sensitisation missions launched by the IEC to inform the local authorities and the public servants to respect the electoral laws which bar abuse of state resources for propaganda purposes have largely been ineffective and their plan to meet the Minister for Local Government to address the issue is inadequate, since the Head of the Civil Service was on the public media endorsing the candidature of APRC Candidates thus nullifying the distinction between party and the state; that the authority to engage to prevent the abuse of Central and Local Government resources for propaganda purposes and give assurance to village heads that as signatories to documents that entitle claimants to get voters’ cards ,they should not interfere with the political preferences of villagers, is the Head of state who is responsible for the appointment of Ministers, Governors and Chiefs and is the Secretary General of the APRC
That the promise to meet Security heads is nothing new and had not prevented the security forces from taking partisan positions and accompanying the convoys of APRC Candidates with party flags and emblems. That in order for any action of the IEC to have any positive impact on the forthcoming elections, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces needs to be engaged ;

That the Commission’s plan to set up a monitoring team to ensure that there is no encampment for electoral purposes ,or, canvassing during the cooling period,and on voting day and the invitation for political parties to do the same is a good proposal which should be preceded by multi party sensitisation programmes if it is to impact positively on the forthcoming National Elections;

That the plan to set up a media monitoring team to monitor the use of the public media should also be complimented by a multiparty media review team to ensure that the cassettes to be broadcast are sanctioned by a representative of the concerned candidate and party. That the APRC has already jumped the gun and its nomination is covered in national news .That these measures could impact positively on the forthcoming elections if adequate time is given to set up and sensitise the stakeholders on such mechanisms;

That the provision of an allowance for polling/counting agents is complimentary to the institutionalization of counting on the spot and the establishment of collation Centres but that time is necessary to sensitise all stakeholders on the processes to be undertaken and the implications for political parties and candidates;

That the claim by the IEC that there is no complaint in their file regarding the contribution of non Gambians and Corporate bodies to the campaign financing of the ruling party and that the issue is therefore not to its notice, is not convincing to the opposition since most of such contribution is in the public domain and does not need an informant to make it known to the IEC.
That the failure to name and shame those involved in double registration and those who were attesters to the claims of those whose voters’ cards had been revoked by a revising court, will impact negatively on the National Assembly elections and that time should be devoted to such venture to build the confidence of the people.

That the reference made to section 96 of the constitution in terms of holding National Assembly Elections within four months after the Prudential elections, in order to justify why the National Assembly elections could not be postponed, is not applicable since the election is scheduled outside of the constitutionally prescribed limit of four calendar months.
That the delay in convening a long requested meeting with the opposition has given rise to this late response of the IEC to the concerns of the opposition parties; that Since January the opposition had asked for dialogue and the declaration issued on 28 February was not responded to until 6th ; that the time left for nomination is short and the supporters of the opposition need to be shown that their leaders have done their utmost to address their concerns, that this is the only way the leaders could gain credibility.
That postponing the elections would earn the confidence of the opposition supporters by showing them that the IEC aims to start a new mode of operation;

Noted the following response of the IEC ;

That it is ready to improve the process but has resolved to proceed with the elections on 29 March 2012;

Made it categorically clear that it is the wish of the opposition to engage in dialogue so that national solution would be found to national problem so as to safeguard national integrity;
that we have sitting National Assembly members and other credible candidates who are ready to participate in the National Assembly elections; that we cannot afford to lose these seats by default but cannot also participate in a process that will not earn us credibility;
That if the IEC cannot handle the problem the opposition may seek external mediation so that it would not be excluded from participation of the National Assembly Elections:

Engaged in sober reflection after our meeting with the IEC;

Now concludes that since the IEC has made it categorically clear that it will not postpone the National Assembly elections to accommodate our genuine concerns and win the confidence of our supporters we, therefore are pushed not to participate in the National Assembly Elections.

Further invite the ECOWAS, The African Union The Common Wealth and international community at large to mediate to settle the impasse so that the opposition will not be excluded from putting up candidates in the National Assembly elections by postponing the elections to a more appropriate date

Signed by:

Gambia Moral Congress

Gambia Party Development and Progress

National Aliance for Democracy and Development

People Progressive Party

Peoples Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism

United Democratic Party

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone

Kitabul Arerr

645 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2012 :  20:51:09  Show Profile Send Kitabul Arerr a Private Message
rhythmically formulated, a tale not told by *****s, full of facts and trepidation, signifying the current
state of affairs with a disingenous IEC-Gambia. There comes a point where a line in the sand must be drawn.
Well done, The Opposition 6, and don't get cowed to oblivion. Gambia our homeland deserves a level political
playing field.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, Shame on all of!

The New Gambia - Stronger Together!
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United Kingdom
3817 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2012 :  21:27:50  Show Profile Send Karamba a Private Message
In his one million promised misrule, Jammeh will not permit level playing field. He knows what that holds. Good move by the opposition at least once.

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United Kingdom
163 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2012 :  03:56:48  Show Profile Send somita a Private Message
Finally, finally the opposition is making some progress ....shame NRP is going rogue.
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