By Nelson Manneh
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), on Friday, 5 November, 2021 concluded nominations for presidential candidates for the forthcoming presidential elections scheduled for 4 December, 2021.
For the first time in the history of the Gambia, more than ten candidates have filed in their nomination papers with the IEC, in order to contest the presidential elections next December. Many hail this as the beauty of democracy.
For the past years of the Jammeh era, registered political parties were always less than ten, and there was no presidential election where more than five candidates contested for presidency during that period.
According to the IEC’s nomination schedule, twenty-six aspiring candidates were to submit their nomination documents from Saturday, 30 October to Friday, 5 November, 2021. Among them, thirteen are Independent candidates which include one female aspirant. One aspiring candidate in the person of Mathew Gomes (Independent), withdrew his candidature. Among the rest of the candidates who have submitted their nomination papers, none of them indicated any desire to withdraw yet, but some have shown support to the current president who has also submitted his nomination papers to the IEC.
Samba Bah, a native of Banjul who came to witness the scene at the IEC premises, said if all the candidates who submitted their nomination documents to the IEC are qualified for the presidential election, the IEC will face a lot of challenges.
“The candidates are too many. We have counted more than twenty candidates as compared to previous elections when we usually had three of four candidates,” he said.
Bah emphasized that Gambian politicians should not only look at their interest, but should also consider the meagre resources that is available to carry out such a task.
Fatou Jeng, a vendor at the Serrekunda market, also said she has been going to the IEC to see the candidates who want to contest the 2021 presidential election.
“What I have observed now is that many people are taking politics as their gateway to success. When I looked at some of the candidates, I can clearly say that they are not fit for the position and some of them know that they cannot make it. All that they will do in the end is to go in for a coalition and seek for ministerial positions,” she concluded.
Many people who spoke to this reporter after the conclusion of the nominations at the IEC, expressed similar remarks.