By Nelson Manneh
The Mayoress of Banjul City Council Rohey Malick Lowe has said that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) gave her the responsibility to issue attestations to Banjulians who are without identity card, birth certificate, Gambian passport, or their national documents are expired.
Section 43 of 1997 constitution of the Gambia gives IEC the mandate to conduct general voter registration and conduct all public elections. It is against this background that general voter registrations are conducted to register all eligible citizens to provide them with the opportunity to exercise such constitutional rights.
According to the Election Act, for a person to be qualified to register, the person should be a Gambian citizen and should at least be eighteen years by the 4th December 2021, the date for the Presidential election. The person also needs to provide one of the following documents to be registered: valid Gambian identity card, Gambian passport, birth certificate, or an attestation from Alkalo or Seyfo.
However, Banjul city has no Alkalo or Seyfo to issue an attestation to Banjulians who have none of the above national document. Therefore, the IEC vested the responsibility of issuing attestations to Banjulians on the Mayor.
Mayor Lowe said all those born in Banjul are urged by the IEC to go back to Banjul and be registered, including those residing outside Banjul.
“Come and get registered in Banjul, no one can stop you from registering if you are born in Banjul,” she said.
She said she heard that some people were stopped from registering in Banjul which is wrong.
“The IEC said the law is clear as to where an individual should get registered,” she said.
The Banjul mayoress said what she is doing is in accordance with the IEC Act and anybody who is not satisfied can challenge the IEC at the court. She said she will use her conscience to give attestation to people who want to register in Banjul.
“I will not give attestation to a foreigner. I will give attestations to people who are born in Banjul and those residing here in Banjul,” she said, while indicating that she would not politicalize the issuant of attestation to individuals.
Samboujang Njie, IEC Chief Election Officer, told Foroyaa in an interview that the Mayor has always been the one who issue attestation to Banjulians over the years.
“We all know that Banjul has no Alkalo or Seyfo who are given the power by law to issue attestations, that is why we give the responsibility to the Mayor,” he said.
Njie cited section 127 of the Elections Act to back his assertions.