By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister of Regional Government and Lands, Musa Drammeh, has on Monday 26th April 2021, appeared before the joint committee on IEC and Human Rights and Constitutional Matters of the national assembly to add his input on the Elections Bill 2021.
Minister Drammeh told the joint committee that the bill is a document that governs the general conduct of elections in the country, from referendum, presidential, National Assembly and Mayoral elections.
He said they have the Local Government Act which governs the creation of local authorities, citing their qualifications. He dilated on certain sections of the elections bill, such as section 42, which deals with nominations, among others.
“We are also concerned with section 43 (which deals with the payment of election deposits by candidates), section 44 (which deals with the refund of deposits) these areas are very clear and we felt they are adequately addressed and there is no need for our intervention in those areas,” he said.
He said the Local Government Act is the law that provides for the creation of municipalities and also empowers the IEC to demarcate the local government boundaries.
“We have gone through it during and after Cabinet meeting and our concerns are addressed and the bill is in order,” he said.
Ousmn Touray, Member for Sabach Sanjal, told the minister to review the 20 percent threshold, stating that it is on the high side and will bar candidates from getting their deposits.
Minister Drammeh said the threshold for not giving deposits to candidates who score less than 20 percent of votes in election is not on the high side. He said elective positions are important and that the set percentage is in order.
“I don’t think that is on the high scale, because elections are important and elective positions are all equally important. So that threshold of 20 percent is adequate,” he said.
Suwaibou Touray, Member for Wuli East, suggested to the Minister to consider providing remunerations to the Alkalolu to give attestations to voter card applicants, stating that they will stay put with the IEC registration teams for about two months.
This, he said, will ensure that the Alkalolu stay with the teams and will not leave the registration centers to venture into other activities during registration period.
Minister Drammeh said he would appeal with the national assembly to allocate an amount for the Alkalolu, so that they can stay put at the centers throughout the registration period.