By Nelson Manneh & Ndey Sowe
Peace Ambassadors The Gambia (PAG) has on Monday, 8 October, 2021 informed the media that they have trained fifty-three constituency observers and six regional coordinators to observe campaigns for the 2021 presidential elections.
The President of Peace Ambassadors The Gambia, Babacarr Sambou, said Peace Ambassadors The Gambia (PAG) is observing different phases of the 2021 presidential elections. The PAG observation effort started with observing political party congress, the voter registration process, the candidate nomination period, and now the campaign.
For the campaign period, Sambou said, PAG has trained and will on 9 November deploy 59 long-term observers including 6 regional coordinators and 53 constituency observers to observe the process in all regions and constituencies.
“All 59 observers will observe and send campaign observation checklist reports on two occasions (one in the middle and the other at the end of the period), as well as sending critical incidents reports throughout the process anytime they occur, PAG observers will observe and report on campaign processes such as political parties, campaign marches, and demonstrations, debates, the use of the media, flyers, posters, billboards, or community outreach events,” he explained.
He said that they will also watch out for campaign violence within their assigned areas such as propagation of hate speeches and divisive messages, intimidation, and harassment targeted at electoral actors and other groups.
“Observers will further report on civic and voters education activities, awareness of and adherence to COVID-19 health and safety measures as well as the IEC preparatory activities for the Election Day at the regional and constituency levels,” said Sambou.
In addition to observers, Sambou said, PAG also trains five data clerks that will be stationed at the PAG National Information Center in Kanifing to collect checklist reports from constituency observers on the two designated reporting days as well as critical incidents from all observers all through the campaign process.
Sambou said for the Pre-Election Period, PAG will issue three public updates to communicate its observation and findings to the public. These updates will be in the form of a report or brief that will either be posted on a social platform or shared directly into emails to various stakeholders to communicate PAG’s findings.
“This final update covers the PAG Campaign Deployment Strategy and Candidate Nomination Observation will be followed by two additional updates. One will be issued on Friday, 19th November that will include the PAG first Campaign Update, A second and final update will be issued on Friday, 3rd December 2021,” he noted.
Sambou said the final update will also communicate the PAG Deployment Strategy for Election Day Observation. All PAG Campaign reports will be based on the direct observations from PAG’s 59 observers located in all constituencies and regions.
In addition to the two Campaign Updates, he said, PAG will immediately share with the appropriate authorities any verified critical incident reports or any other relevant information so that actions would immediately be taken to address the issue(s).
“The two updates will also be shared with the IEC, members of the media, and major electoral stakeholders. Throughout the campaign period, there will also be regular posts of PAG activities on its social media page and official website for the public to access,” he promised.