By Landing Ceesay
Gambia Participates (GP), an anti-corruption civil society organization reported the use of state resources by the National People’s Party (NPP) during the nomination and in the ongoing campaign of some of its candidates for the 9th April Election.
“GP observers also reported instances of the misuse of government property to organize political rallies or candidate rallies or a political party dominating the state-owned media outfit. Nationwide, 6% of GP observers reported witnessing or hearing of such misuse of government vehicles. The reports were received from Banjul Central, Banjul North and Banjul South Constituencies. From the Greater Banjul, observers reported the use of state-owned vehicles by the NPP delegates at the nominations of Sammy Njie, Mohammed Ndow and Ousman Wada on March 10 2022. The Minister of Fisheries, Mr. James Gomez was also seen attending the nominations, during official working hours using state-owned vehicles.
“Abuse of state resources was also reported in the third reporting period (March 15-21). 8% of observers witnessed the use of public resources during political campaigns, mostly state-owned vehicles. These were most frequent in Foni Bondali, Illiasa, Kombo South and Old Yundum. We observed that the constitutionally mandated meet the people tour was sometimes used by the President to campaign for his party candidates. The electoral cycle was the perfect timing for the president to use state resources to conduct what was fully supposed to be apolitical. This has created power inequalities and provided unfair political advantages to the incumbent’s party and candidates. The meet the people tour is a state-funded activity whose objectives were partly defeated for political propaganda; thus violating section 91(b) of the Elections act and section 222(15) of the 1997 constitution,” Marr Nyang, Gambia Participates Executive Director said.
Mr. Nyang said during the second reporting period from 8th 14th March) his organisation’s observers were instructed to indicate whether government vehicles had been used to organize rallies, including to transport materials to or from a rally site or for candidates to travel and make campaign speeches, nomination or if a party is dominating the scene using the state-owned media.
The Executive Director of Gambia Participates Marr Nyang, made these remarks on Thursday at a press conference.
Gambia Participates deployed sixty-five (65) Long-term observers (LTO) who are stationed in the 53 constituencies to monitor the nomination and political campaigns ahead of the 9th Parliamentary elections; with each of them observing the political activities in their constituency and reports back to Gambia Participates; and the 12 Regional Focal Points supervise GP’s observation mission in the 7 regions of The Gambia, according to the organisation.