IPC Holds Forum to Support Peace, Credible Election

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By Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh

The Inter-Party Committee (IPC) with support from the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), United Nations Development programs (UNDP), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Tuesday 26th October, 2021 held a national stakeholders’ forum in support of peace and credible election at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center.

The forum was organized to provide political leaders in The Gambia with a platform they could use to commit to the highest standards of electioneering in The Gambia, with a special emphasis on the need to avoid incendiary language and hate speech before, during and after election.

Speaking at the program, Halifa Sallah co-chairperson of IPC, acknowledged all stakeholders involved in ensuring peaceful and credible election, adding that IPC came into being out of necessity.

Sallah said IPC was established in 2017 and a memorandum was signed to champion collaborative and meaningful inter-party dialogues, which stands to empower all political parties in the country. He said the dictate of the constitution and dictate of the people gave rise to the peace the country is benefiting. Therefore, he said IPC will ensure the co-values of respecting the fundamental rights and freedoms, due process, democracy and the rule of law to shadow the electoral process.

Sallah asserted that despite having 18 registered political parties, they have converged and agreed to put the past behind them in the spirit of reconciliation, and focusing on national development and to make sure there are peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.

The Executive Secretary of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo, said the desire of Africa is to be a continent that has vision to be integrated, prosperous and peaceful.

She said these will be driven by Africa’s own citizens who will represent a dynamic force in the global arena. To her, this vision is a long-term vision and that Gambia in its commitment has demonstrated the said vision.

Ms. Khumalo said The Gambia has what it takes to conduct a peaceful and credible election within the contest of the rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, right to life and the right of all individuals to participate in electoral processes in their country.

She said the African Union has pledged its support to the Government of The Gambia and its people in five (5) distinct areas such as: “the support of human rights and transitional justice, to support the people of The Gambia in a peaceful electoral process leading to a peaceful and democratic transition, to strengthen public sector institutions in the country, support to security sector reforms and support to constitutionalism and the rule of law.” 

The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Alieu Momar Njie, said they are ready to conduct the presidential election and that twenty-four (24) presidential candidates have collected nomination papers.

Njie also said the nomination will start from 30th October to 5th November 2021. He said 18 political parties have been registered and 12 independent candidates have collected nomination forms. He said the election should not destroy the peace and tranquility in The Gambia.

The IEC chairman added that there will be 1554 voting stations across the country and that the ballot drums will be used for the presidential election.

“No person should tamper with the election process as it stands to be free, fair, transparent and credible come 4th December,” he said.

The IPC was established by political parties as a forum for dialogue and cooperation to promote adherence to the MoU and Code of Conduct. It aims to promote national reconciliation and ensures consensus building amongst political parties on contested political and electoral issues.