Section 46 of the 1997 Constitution states:
“There shall be an election for the office of President in the three months before the expiration of the term of the incumbent President. The dates for the nomination of candidates and for holding the election shall be determined by the Independent Electoral Commission.”
President Barrow took over the office of President on 19th January 2017.
According to Section 63 of the Constitution
“(1) The term of office of an elected President shall, subject to subsection (3) and (6), be for a term of five years.”
Hence within three months before the end of the five-year term, election to the office of President must be held.
The information gathered by Foroyaa reveals that the NPP, the CA and the UDP have selected their Presidential Candidates. PDOIS is to prepare its selection of a Candidate at its Congress to be held from 5th– 7TH March 2021. Foroyaa will follow the developments and inform the Public accordingly.
The Gambian population should now be asking what the candidates who are already selected are to do for the Nation.
This is to be conveyed by a Manifesto. Section
107 of the Election Act states:
“At or prior to the time a political party submits a nomination for an election, itshall submit to the Commission a copy of the party’s manifesto which shall contain-
(a) a written commitment to encourage the spirit of tolerance and multiculturalism amongst the inhabitants of The Gambia;
(b) evidence that the party is not based on religious, cultural or ethnic lines or on any considerationwhich may induce divisive political activity or promotion of unpatriotic and non-national interests;
(c) a commitment to provide opportunities for its members to benefit from the Government’s programme of civic and member education; and
(d) a clear-cut explanation of the party’s programme for national development.”
All political parties should endeavour to issue a Manifesto on the day they announce the name of their Presidential candidate so that he or she would explain the programme for national development he or she intends to implement. If this is not done, the party will be reflecting the personal views of individual members.
The Media should interview political leaders on the basis of what they put in their manifesto. General opinions are meaningless since they reflect the personal views of individual party members.
In an election year, the country needs seasoned journalists who would read the Manifestos of parties and ask presidential candidates and party spokespersons questions that would explain their programmes to the people to enable them to make informed choices.