By Nelson Manneh
The CSOs Coalition on Elections-The Gambia spearheaded and coordinated by WANEP-The Gambia has indicated in their preliminary statement that for the Gambia to organize credible elections, it must do away with the issuance of attestation.
“The major challenge confronting the registration process is the issue of attestation. We observe minors being registered as well as allegations of non-Gambians or even people attempting to forge the attestation or photocopying it. Hence, it has always been the position of the CSO coalition that for Gambia to organize credible elections, it must do away with the attestation. We are seeing the challenges it is generating and it’s high time that conversation around electoral bill address the issue,” the report stated.
The CSOs Coalition made this recommendation on Wednesday 9th June 2021 as it engaged the press on their observation of the voter registration exercise, ten days on, since the commencement of the general registration of voter’s cards.
Issues and Concerns
In light of the findings of our preliminary observations, the Coalition raised the following issues and concerns:
“The apparent interference by Alkalolu, party agents and other persons in the process seems to arise as a result of limited sensitization by the IEC. The presence of unauthorized persons within the vicinity of registration centers poses potential challenges to the smooth operation of the entire process.
“The incidence of equipment breakdown requires urgent attention in order to not delay the entire process. The catering of necessary means for the easy and convenient participation of persons with disabilities in the registration exercise remains a challenge. Until now, some persons with disabilities are finding access to registration places challenging.
“The incidence of conflicting information and diverse sources of information surrounding voter registration have the potential to undermine the process hence affect the credibility of the elections eventually.
“While citizens have a right to freedom of expression and opinion necessary to expose and arrest irregularities, it is noted that such freedoms should be exercised responsibility in order not to unnecessarily undermine the integrity of the IEC and the credibility of the voter registration exercise,” it stated.