By Buba Gagigo
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has on Thursday conducted a training session for journalists and Civil Society Organizations ahead of the upcoming Local Government Elections.
Opening the training session, the IEC Chairman Alieu Mamour Njie expounds on the crucial role played by the media and civil society organizations before, during, and post-elections.
“The training is aimed at engaging the Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to enable them effectively take on their roles and responsibilities in the electoral process. An election is often regarded as a complex process requiring the participation of a multitude of players. These include Election Officials, Government Officials, Local Authorities, Security Officials, Civil Society Organisations, Media Personnel, and many others,”
The IEC Chairman also said Effective participation of the CSOs, and Media is expected in helping the IEC deliver free, fair, and transparent elections.
The president of the Gambia Press Union, Muhmmed S Bah urged the Independent Electoral Commission to accord the media uninterrupted access to monitor, scrutinize and report on the process without interference, especially from the security forces.
“Journalists should conduct themselves in an impartial manner and ensure neutrality throughout the process. To the IEC, it is important to accord the media and civil society uninterrupted access to monitor, scrutinize and report on the process without interference, especially from the security forces,” He said.
A Programme Officer from TANGO, Alagie S. Cham, urged the CSOs to remain nonpartisan and neutral throughout the process to ensure there is an adequate framework defining civil participation and free and fair election.
“It is important that the CSOs and media raise awareness of voters on the importance of voting and be voted for with a specific focus on women, youths, and underrepresented and vulnerable groups,” he said.
The 2023 Local Government Elections will be held on two separate dates. The election of Councilors will be held on Saturday, 15th April 2023 and the Election of Mayors / Chairpersons will be held on Saturday 20 May 2023.