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Gambia Assures World Of Free, Fair Elections




Dr. Isatou Touray addressing world leaders at the 76th UNGA in New York
The Gambia Vice President
Photo: GRTS

By Landing Ceesay

The Gambia has assured the 76th United Nations General Assembly of free and fair presidential and legislative elections in 2021 and 2022.  

The Vice President Dr Isatou Touray assured on behalf of the country in her address to the global leaders on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly underway in New York.

“The Gambia is at a crossroads as we continue to seek national reconciliation, entrench our democracy, and consolidate the rule of law. We are on the verge of organizing presidential elections in December 2021 and legislative elections in 2022.

“No effort will be spared by the government in ensuring that these elections are held under free and fair conditions as we March towards the next phase of our political transition. We are going on these elections with the knowledge that our journey towards reform and transformation, in the area of good governance, traditional justice or the civil service and the security sector, is ongoing,” she said.

Deputising the head of state at the occasion, Her Excellency’s address also touched on global security, diplomacy, Israeli-Palestine conflict, how to address causes of conflicts and climate in Africa.

Conflicts and climate change in Africa

On the subject, she called for worldwide solidarity under the UN’s leadership to address the causes of conflicts and climate change in the continent, while highlighting the consequences on human and material resources.

“Apart from the heavy cost in human and material terms, conflicts impede production, damage infrastructure, prevent the reliable delivery of social services and disrupt the growth of societies. Due to conflicts in the continent, poverty continues to be perpetuated with a negative impact on our collective strive for sustainable peace and security. The socio-economic conditions and the governance and security situation in the Sahel continue to alarm us. A more urgent and holistic response to the problems of Sahel is currently needed. Without the stable Sahel, the West African region will lag in its development aspirations,” she said.

Madam Touray expressed the undisputed recognition of strong inter-linkages between peace and development, with studies confirming that armed conflicts remain a major obstacle to Africa’s development.

She called on the International community to come together and act coherently to address the causes of conflicts and recovery in Africa by adopting new approaches and narratives that suit the demands of their time.

Israeli-Palestine conflict

Talking about the Israel-Palestine conflict, VP Touray encouraged genuine dialogue involving both sides to end the conflict, rather than the use of force.

“It is therefore imperative for the International community to encourage genuine dialogue to end the deadlock. We must intensify efforts to bring both sides of the conflict to the negotiating table. The use of force and violence will only add to the suffering of the people living in the area. We continue to be deeply traumatised by the negative consequences of this conflict and cannot continue to ignore the humanitarian catastrophe that goes with it

 “It is our strong view that peaceful coexistence is the only viable way forward. Therefore, ending the occupation, impunity, upholding International law, lifting of the blockade on the Gaza strip, addressing the dire humanitarian and refugee crisis and having an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem, as its capital should be urgently pursued by all and sundry. A new peace and political process must be launched by the quartet,” VP Touray said.

Vice President Touray told the assembly that they must always remember that the existence of peace and security in Palestine and Israel means peace and security for the Middle East region and the world at large.

Gambia vs. Myanmar at ICJ

On seeking justice at the International Court of Justice for the Rohingya Muslim minority of Myanmar, The Gambia’s Vice President told global leaders that her country would continue to pursue the case until justice is served to the victims of the “atrocity crimes”.

“…since we last met in this August assembly, the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and elsewhere has not improved. The Gambia will continue to pursue the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) till the victims of the atrocity crimes receive justice. The International Community must not relent in its quest for accountability in alleviating the dire circumstances of the Rohingya victim communities,” she said. 

United States embargo on Cuba

Meanwhile, speaking on the United States embargo on Cuba, VP Touray called on the latter to end the embargo and pursue meaningful cooperation with the Cuban government and people.

“The Gambia believes in friendly relations between States as the bedrock of international solidarity and cooperation. In this regard, we call on the United States to end the embargo against Cuba and pursue meaningful cooperation with its government and people. Let the embargo be a relic of history.

“Furthermore, Mr President, the Gambia is strongly committed to the principle of our foreign policy, which hinges on further strengthening our excellent bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect, sovereignty equality and shared prosperity, a win-win approach,” Touray addressed the UNGA.

One-China Principle

The Gambia’s number 2 expressed the country’s commitment to the principle of “only one China”.

“Furthermore, Mr President, the Gambia is strongly committed to the principle of recognising only one china. This is a cardinal principle of our foreign policy which hinges on further strengthening our excellent bilateral relations based on mutual respect, sovereignty, equity and shared prosperity, a win-win approach,” she said.

The Vice President made these remarks on Friday at the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York, while deputising President Adama Barrow

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