Thursday, June 24, 2021

Is It The Law That There Should Be No Diaspora Registration?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Section 11 of the Elections Act makes it mandatory for the IEC to prepare a register of voters including Gambians leaving abroad. It reads:

“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.” 

Section 39 of the Constitution stipulates that every citizen of the Gambia eighteen years and above shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in a National Assembly Constituency. Furthermore, the Elections Act states among other things in section 12(c) that a person is entitled to have his or her name entered on the register of voters in a Constituency if he or she is resident or was born in that Constituency.

So every Gambian who was born in The Gambia was born in a particular constituency even though he or she is resident abroad. Such Gambian is entitled to be registered.

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The IEC has no excuse for not registering such people and should prepare to do so, so as not to undermine its integrity. It should not wait until it is ordered by the Supreme Court to do so.

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