By: Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
Foroyaa has learned that some tokens, marbles used for Gambia’s elections, given to voters do not fit through the holes of the ballot boxes at the Mandinaba polling station number 2.
The chairman of the United Democratic party (UDP) in Mandinaba, Morry Kebba Gibba, affirmed this in an interview in the early hours of Saturday.
He said more than 3 people encountered that problem. He said the presiding officer together with polling agents and the security officials had to widen the holes of the ballot boxes.
“But despite that, it could not fit,” he said.
Gibba said the presiding officer had to condemn the said tokens and replaced them with another for those people to vote.
Notwithstanding, Mr Gibba said the voting so far has been peaceful, adding that voters came out in their large numbers and the turnout of youths was huge.
“Is a right upon every citizen who has registered to cast their votes wisely, therefore, people should come early to vote and not wait until it is late hence there are different stages after voting,” Gibba said.
The UDP chairman advised voters to patiently wait for the announcement of the election result from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), noting that if a particular candidate wins, every Gambia should take it in good faith and they should not engage themselves in fighting or uttering hate speeches because that will create disorderliness in the country.
The national assembly member for Kombo East, Lamin FM. Conta who casted his vote at Basory in Komba East, encountered the problem as his token was bigger than the hole of the ballot boxes.
Mr Conta said in an interview at Mandinaba polling center that when the marble given to vote was unable to fit through the hole of the ballot box, he immediately called the attention of the presiding officer, the security and other polling agents to verify.
He said the aforesaid officials used a metallic object to widen the holes of the ballot boxes.
Conta said the IEC should have noticed the marbles that could not fit through the ballot boxes. He also opined that the presiding officers, who are certified, trained and accredited agents, should have observed all minor and major problems that could deter the voting process.
The lawmaker advised Gambians to maintain the peaceful conduct of the voting in their various homes and collectively celebrate the winning candidate without causing any problem.
Haddy Baldeh, the presiding officer for stream or station 2 in Mandinaba Bantaba polling Center, confirmed that at her stream, 3 tokens or marbles which were given to voters could not fit through the hole of the ballot boxes.
Baldeh said when that happened, she called the other polling staff together with the security personnel to confirm or verify.
“I personally took my fingers to pull out the token or marble that was stuck in the hole and could not drop into the ballot box. And I also told the rest of the voters not to force the tokens and marbles if it could not fit through when gone in,” she said.
However, she said at her stream, they did not open or widen the holes of the ballot boxes.