Unimpressive Voter Turnout at Polling Stations in Foni Kansala

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By Nelson Manneh

Officers of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) posted at border polling stations in Foni Kansala, said voter turnout in the area was not at all impressive because many voters did not return to cast their votes.

Foni Kansala has two voting centres along with border villages. The two centres are in Kanilai and Gekiss village.

This reporter visited Kanilai village and found out that only a few people were present to cast their votes. Kanilai village which has a centre with four voting streams was almost empty at midday.

The IEC officers said women who turned out to cast their votes were more than the men.

“We have observed that the women who came to vote, are more than the men, and the turnout is poor when compared to the last presidential election,” Alieu Saidy an IEC Polling Officer in Kanilai village said; that since the time the voting process started in the morning, they have not encountered any difficulty except for the low turnout.

“What I have observed is that many people did not turn out to vote. Looking at the voter list, I can confidently say that the turnout will be poor at the end of the day,” he said.

Mr. Saidy said this can be attributed to the month of Ramadan.

“I think the Ramadan has also contributed to the low turnout of voters contrary to what I expected,” he said.

Abdoulie Sawaneh another polling officer in Kanilai said the voter turnout is poor.

“It is just 11 am and our stream is almost empty. People are coming one by one to cast their votes, and if the trend continues like this, we will have a very low voter turnout in this centre,” he said.

Kaddy Jammeh a voter in Kanilai who spoke to Foroyaa, attributed the low turnout to the ongoing Cassamance crisis that is impacting Foni. She said most voters in their village are internally displaced and some now reside in the Kombos, and that those who have joined their relatives in the Kombos will not come here just to cast their votes and return.