The media is constrained in reporting if it is not receiving the observations of Independent monitors of the campaign. The role of the media is to give balanced coverage to all the candidates on one part and publish the views of monitors regarding respect for or infringement of the election rules and code of conduct.
The way election is conducted in the two places should provide enough evidence whether a genuine electoral system is in view or a dim prospect.
Gambia deserves a violence free, insult free, intimidation free, inducement free, public resources and public servant intervention free electoral system.
This is what the electoral laws dictate. Let us quote few examples:
The Elections Act defines bribery, treating, etc as corrupt electoral practices.
It reads: Section 116 of the Elections Act deals with conduct of corrupt practices. Subsection (1) reads:
‘The term corrupt practice as used in this Act means bribery treating, undue influence or personation as provided in this Part or aiding , abetting , counseling or procuring the commission of personation.’
Subsection (2) adds:
‘A corrupt practice shall be deemed to be committed by a candidate if it is committed with his or her knowledge or consent or by a person who is acting under the general or special authority of the candidate with reference to the election.’
Subsection (3) states:
‘When a corrupt practice is committed by a candidate elected at an election held under the provisions of this Act the election of the candidate shall be invalid.’
Section 117 defines bribery as follows:
‘A person is guilty of bribery if he or she directly or indirectly, by himself or herself, or by any other person, on his or her behalf, gives, lends or agrees to give or lends, offers, promises to procure or endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration to or for any other person, in order to induce any voter to vote or refrain from voting or does any such act on account of the voter having voted or refrained from voting at the election…………’
The list of corrupt practices is long and Foroyaa will serialise it for the benefit of our readers.
Voter education by the IEC and The National Council for Civic Education on such corrupt practices and monitoring by independent monitors to gauge practice should be a daily activity prior to and during elections.