By Kebba Secka
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is expected to announce the registration of three new political parties after it added Citizen Alliance to the list of bona fide parties in The Gambia.
Joseph Colley, Director of Communications and Training at the IEC, made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with this reporter at the Election House.
“So far, we are almost done with three other political parties who have submitted all their requirements and we have verified them through our procedures. What is left now is for them to finalize a few things before they are announced as bona fide registered political parties,” Colley said.
He added over thirty political party registration forms have been issued to interested individuals who intend to register parties, although they are yet to see further action from them. Colley reiterated that the political space is open for Gambians and that this opening does not recognize any limitation in order to make the political field open, level and democratic.
Detailing the requirements to be fulfilled to register a political party, Colley said one needs to be a Gambian and expresses interest in forming a political party; adding that interested persons do not have to link their party to a tribe, organization or religion. He said they should base the functions of their parties on democratic principles, values and norms. He said the Executive members of any party must be Gambians irrespective of their diversity; adding that among the conditions to fulfill include the ability to gather ten thousand signatures of supporters across the country and deposit one million dalasi cash at the IEC when registering; that they should provide their party color, symbol and Constitution.
“If all these conditions are met, we would have to verify it with the system including the confirmation of the supporters on the voter register,” he said. He said successful applicants who fulfill all the requirements have to sign the Election Campaign Ethics with the IEC. He said they often advise political parties to sensitize their supporters and guide their conducts in line with the rules governing elections and campaigns in the country. Colley confirmed to this reporter that ‘Gambia For All’ party (GFA) which recently held a congress, is yet to be registered as a political party by the Independent Electoral Commission.