Sunday, February 5, 2023

Gambia’s Political Parties Sign Peace Pledge for Violence Free Elections

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By Ndey Sowe

To promote peace before, during and after the December Presidential elections, all political parties have signed the peace pledge which was developed with support from development partners through the Inter-Part Committee (IPC).

This came during a media briefing before campaigns began on the 9 November, 2021. All registered political parties including President Adama Barrow’s NPP have signed a peace pledge also referred to as “The Janjangbureh Peace Accord for a violence free elections”, which was developed during the third IPC quarterly breakfast meeting on September 25, and re-validated at the fourth quarterly breakfast meeting on October 26 with technical support from development partners such as UNDP, UNOWAS, RCO, NDI, OHCHR, AU and ECOWAS.

The peace pledge signing ceremony was officially witnessed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Musa Amul Nyassi, Co-Chair of the Inter-Party Committee (IPC), tasked every political actor in this election to honour the spirit and letter of the IPC’s MoU, the IEC Code of Conduct and Ethics, and the peace pledge to which political parties have agreed.

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For the readership, IPC was established by political parties as a forum for dialogue and co-operation to promote adherence to its MoU and Code of Conduct, promote national reconciliation and ensure consensus building amongst political parties on contested political and electoral issues. Since its establishment, the IPC has partnered with relevant stakeholders to conduct and participate in activities to ensure peaceful co-existence amongst political parties as key actors in national, political and electoral processes.

The IPC, with support from its partners, is currently implementing a series of programs and interventions to promote transparent, credible and peaceful electoral processes before, during and after the upcoming presidential, legislative and local government elections.

Mr. Nyassi added that the IPC has already inaugurated a youth and a women’s branch as part of its efforts to ensure inclusive participation and representation of women and youth at the IPC and party levels. Recently, the IPC and its partners organized a high-level national stakeholders’ forum, where political leaders in The Gambia committed, in the presence of national and international stakeholders to support peaceful and credible elections in The Gambia, with special emphasis on the need to avoid hate speech before, on and after the Election Day.

Mr. Nyassi stated: “The IPC, through technical and funding support from NDI and UNDP will also be running peace messages, in the form of jingles on TV and Radio in English and five Gambian languages (ie, Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Jola and Sarahuleh). Peace messages will be aired at the commencement of party campaigns through the election. In addition, the IPC has concluded plans to embark on regional sensitization of Gambians on the provisions of the IPC MoU, Code of Conduct and the peace pledge before the commencement of campaigns through support from UNOWAS, UNDP and NDI.”

As campaigns commenced, the Inter-Party Committee enjoins every political actor in this election to honor the spirit and letter of the Inter-Party Committee’s MOU, the IEC Code on Elections Campaign Ethics, and the peace pledge to which party leaders have agreed. Candidates and their supporters in this election are also urged to accept the election results that will be announced by the IEC if judged to be a free, fair, and credible electoral process.

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