WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP FROM STOPPING GAMBIANS WHO ARE 18 YEARS FROM BEING DISENFRANCHISED?

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Section 39 of the Constitution of The Gambia states:

“(1)  Every citizen of The Gambia being of eighteen years or older and of sound mind shall have the right to vote for the purpose of elections of a President and members of the National Assembly, and shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in a National Assembly constituency for that purpose.

(2)   Every citizen of The Gambia who is a registered voter shall be entitled to vote in a referendum held in accordance with this Constitution or any other law.

(3)   Every citizen of The Gambia being of the age of eighteen years or older and of sound mind shall be entitled, in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter and any Act of the National Assembly providing for such elections, to vote in elections for local government authorities and traditional rulers in the area in which he or she is ordinarily resident.”

Hence any Gambian who is 18 years old has a right for his or her name to be entered in a register of voters to enable him or her to vote at a presidential, national assembly and council elections.

The last registration of voters took place in 2021. Two years have elapsed since 2021. Tens of thousands of young who are now 18 years and should vote in the current mayoral and chairpersonship elections but cannot do so because they are not registered. They have been disenfranchised by not being registered as voters which violates section 39 of the Constitution. A remedy ought to be found with speed, otherwise such young people should take the matter to the high court for redress under section 26 of the Constitution which states.

They should not be unreasonably be denied their right to vote in the election.

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