Mr Bye Malleh Wadda who had declared his interest to contest the mayor ship for Banjul has announced his withdrawal from the race, blaming the system of registration which he said has disenfranchised him. The announcement was made in the following press release:
After expending a considerable amount of time and efforts to regularise my eligibility to contest for the office of Mayor of Banjul, in the upcoming Local Government Elections, without success, I have been advised by my legal team to step down from the contest. I do so with a very heavy heart considering the laudable plans I have for our great capital city.
It is particularly disheartening that a vast number of well intentioned Gambians, including my humble self, are being disenfranchised simply because of our system of voter registration. We have a system that does not permit the requisite periodic updating of the voter register to ensure that all eligible Gambians are accorded the constitutional right to vote and to contest for political office. Thus, we are all subjected to a system that disenfranchises Gambians simply because one’s voter’s card has purportedly expired or that one had not attained the requisite age at the time of a national voter registration exercise, which is held every ten years, and every five years supplementarily, in between. In a true democracy the right to vote is not denied or extinguished due to a flawed voter registration system. In our democracy, moving forward, every Gambian should be given the opportunity to participate in the political processes without any hindrance.
I believe I would have been the best candidate to stop the deterioration of Banjul, and to transform it into a modern city. My contacts, organizational and management skills would have been a very useful asset for Banjul and The Gambia as a whole. I believe it is a big loss of opportunity for Banjul and The Gambia.
I have had a lot of support and positive reaction to my candidature both locally and internationally and this would have transformed into positive development for Banjul and The Gambia. It is thus regrettable that I am not eligible to contest in these forthcoming local government elections, simply because of the fact that my voter’s card and voter registration had lapsed despite my eligibility to vote and be voted for.
Notwithstanding, we would continue in our efforts to transform Banjul into a modern and functional city. We would continue to engage, motivate and inspire especially young people to take ownership and responsibility of their destination through participatory politics and leadership.
I thank all my supporters and well wishers in this journey I partook, especially those that have offered or given financial support. I thank those individuals who joined me walking the streets of Banjul and talking to different vous about the issues of Banjul. Your confidence in me is appreciated.
Despite not vying for office of Mayor in the next elections, I look forward to further engaging with people with interest in the transformation of Banjul in particular and The Gambia as a whole.
The rules, laws and regulations governing our electoral process has to be revisited. Quite a number of Gambians are being disenfranchised and eliminated from the process. This should not be in our democracy moving forward.
Thank you all. May Allah bless The Gambia.