The GRTS should write to all political parties to convey its policy on coverage of political party activities prior to the campaign period.
The Elections Act empowers the IEC to ensure equal coverage of candidates during the campaign period. However, it does not cover the political activities of the campaign period. It is the GRTS management that should develop policies on coverage of political activities prior to the campaign period in line with the principle of equity established by law during the campaign period.
If the GRTS management continues with unequal coverage it will be violating section 26 of the Constitution which guaranties the right of every citizen to public service.
Section 26 reads:
“Every citizen of The Gambia of full age and capacity shall have the right, without unreasonable restrictions – (c) to have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in The Gambia.”
Furthermore, section 33 which protects a person against discrimination reads:
“(1) All persons shall be equal before the law.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5), no law shall make any provision which is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(4) In this section, the expression “discrimination” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject, or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(5) Subsection (2) shall not apply to any law in so far as that law makes provision –
(a) with respect to persons who are not citizens of The Gambia or to qualifications for citizenship;
(b) with respect to the qualifications prescribed by this Constitution for any office;
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
(d) for the application in the case of members of a particular race or tribe of customary law with respect to any matter in the case of persons who, under that law, are subject to that law……..”
Foroyaa calls on the GRTS management to take note.