By Nelson Manneh
Banjul, 2pm, 12 May 2018 – Banjul the capital city of The Gambia went to the polls to elect a Mayor for the City today the 12th of May 2018, but the turnout like that of the Council Elections isn’t impressive.
In the morning up to 2pm, turnout was low and electoral officials sat relaxed waiting for people to come.
Women and some men could be seen going about their daily businesses. Some of them could be seen carrying their baskets and other materials walking towards the market. The polling stations were not busy and voters spent little time in casting their votes.
The Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers could be seen patrolling the streets of Banjul slightly more than in the councillorship elections.
At the Campama Ward in Banjul North Constituency people occasionally gathered after casting their votes but whenever they were seen by patrolling police officers they were quickly dispersed.
The 22nd July Square told Foroyaa that voter turnout this morning is very low when compared to the National Assembly and the Councillorship elections, but he expressed hope that it may be better as the day goes by.
“I don’t know the reason behind the low turnout but I think people are not fully aware of the transitional changes that are going on,” he said.
Speaking to Foroyaa, one Mariama Faal, who was seen working towards the market with some foodstuff to sell, said she is tired with elections.
“I have not attended any rally throughout so I don’t see the importance of me voting. It is true that I have my voter’s card and need to vote but I’m not doing it,” she said.
Madam Faal added that all the mayors that served in Banjul failed them as they have brought no development to the City.
A voter, one Pa Momodou Sanyang, who was seeing entering one of the polling stations to cast his vote, expressed a different view. He said anyone who knows the importance of a mayor will not sit down at home or go to the market without voting.
Mr. Sanyang added that this is the time for Banjulians to choose a mayor who is ready to develop the city to its expectation.
“Rather than complain tomorrow about the wrongs of the government you should make use of your right to decide who should represent you. I don’t think it is fair for one to sit without voting and start complaining tomorrow after decisions are made,” he said.
He said as a voter he has already exercised his duty and wished the city of Banjul the best.
Polling in Banjul as at now is slow but is in a peaceful environment; voters are casting their voters and are either going home or about their business peacefully.
In another development, the Councillor for Jollof Town Ward, Pa Babou Cham of the UDP, was sent away from the vicinity of Wesley Primary School Polling Station by personnel of the police intervention unit. Eye witnesses, including street vendors, say after he had cast his vote, he stood at a spot near this polling station dishing out money to voters on their way to vote.
In his words, Cham denied the allegation saying he gave only one person who was from the Kombos to vote. He said that person was stranded.
The City of Banjul has 9 mayoral candidates including 6 Independent Candidates.
There will be spot counting at 5pm today.
Foroyaa will continue to monitor the whole situation.