Realistic Prospect Or A Lost Opportunity
Foroyaa has received many questions regarding the prospects for Diaspora participation in the Presidential election of 2021.
The facts are already evident.
Section134B of the Elections Act states that, “The Commission shall by notice publish a Calendar of election dates at least one year before the conduct of any Public elections.”
The IEC did publish its Calendar which aimed to conduct voter registration nationwide from 14th January to 26th February 2021.
Diaspora voter registration was scheduled to take place from 1st July to 31st July 2021.
Presidential Election, national and Diaspora, is scheduled for 4th December 2021.
The Commission experienced delay in the national registration exercise which has been rescheduled from 29th May to 14th July.
The IEC should draw up a new update of its calendar.
Is it mandatory for Diaspora registration to take place?
The answer is in the positive.
Section 11of the Elections Act states:
“(1) The Commission shall prepare, compile and maintain in accordance with this Part, a register of voters for each constituency and a register of Gambian registered voters in foreign countries.”
This is the law buttressed by Section 39 of the Constitution which states :
“(1) Every citizen of The Gambia being of eighteen years or older and of sound mind shall have the right to vote for the purpose of elections of a President and members of the National Assembly, and shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in a National Assembly constituency for that purpose.”
It is the duty of the IEC to register all Gambian citizens at home and abroad who are qualified to be registered.