Amid public outcry
By Ndey Sowe
The government issued a press release stating that President Barrow changed his decision to appoint Mr. Oremi Joiner as Deputy Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Initially, Mr. Joiner was announced to be appointed as the Deputy Chair of the Commission, which didn’t go down well with some Gambian civil society actors, as well as the United Democratic Party. All these people raised concerns regarding the appointment of Mr. Joiner, who is allegedly said to be a prominent member of the National People’s Party. Noting that his appointment has violated Section 42 (5) (c) of the 1997 Constitution that deters people who are partisan to be appointed as members of the commission.
The government’s statement comes after these concerns were raised, indicating that “In the wake of emerging evidence that contradicts the appointment of Mr. Oremi Joiner as IEC Deputy Chairperson, His Excellency President Adama Barrow, regrets to rescind Mr. Joiner’s appointment effective immediately.”
Its further states that “This decision is consistent with President Barrow’s commitment to democratic pluralism, transparency and total accountability both in the administration of justice in The Gambia as well as our electoral process.”
The release added, “Significantly, it is instructive to clarify that the President’s decision does not in any way, shape or form question Mr. Joiner’s sterling qualities as a man who has exemplified himself as a true citizen and patriot for which reasons he was appointed to this position.”
It was reported that Malleh Sallah the former deputy IEC chairman retired around June last year after serving the commission for more than 20 years. Since then the office was vacant until this new appointment which was rescinded by the Gambian President, and no other person was announced yet to fill the position.