By Landing Ceesay
The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Mr. Alieu Momar Njai said people complaining about the registration of foreigners can say what they want.
“If someone wants to register for a voter’s card, we make sure that person brings in a birth certificate, ID Card, or Passport, or they go to the Chief or Alkali to have attestation. When they brought all these documents to registration officers for registration, your agents must say no this person is a foreigner or is underage before the registration is done. How can you now come and complain months after the registration to say non-Gambians have been registered?
“As far as I am concerned, the IEC itself has the most transparent, free, and fair elections throughout the whole world. We are with nobody. So whatever people want to say, they can say whatever they like. But we do what we think is the best. Because we are chairing today, tomorrow we will not be there. We will make sure that the system continues as it is the level playing field,” Mr. Njai said.
The IEC Chairman made these remarks during their monthly briefing with representatives of Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media.
The IEC Chairman further stated that his institution always makes sure that they have a fair level playing field and that the norms and conditions under which elections have been done are really observed and accepted generally.
“Unlike most countries, we announced when registration is done for everybody. Candidates and Political Parties who are represented to know on the spot to make sure that those who are registered are eligible Gambians. No underage, or anybody from other countries. We give the voter’s card on the spot free of charge. Thereafter we paste the names of all the people that registered in that particular center for everybody to know those who registered there,” he said.
Mr. Njai said the IEC established a revising Court to make sure that anybody who has any complaints on the list of registered voters can come forward and lodge the complaint to the revising court.
The IEC Chairman said when the last General voter registration was done, over 900,000 people were registered.
Mr. Njai said there was no single complaint from anybody to them during that period. No objection was raised.
“For people to come now and say that non-Gambians were being registered. You have to understand that the IEC from me to the last person, staff, drivers, and Commissioners are only 71 in number. We engaged over 6, 000 people to conduct elections plus 3,000 Police to ensure that security is guaranteed. So if there is a complaint, we make sure all the complaints are addressed. Come Election Day, we make sure that the parties will send in their representatives to witness the beginning and the end of the voting,” the IEC Chairman stated.
The IEC Chairman further stated that the process for the agents to say “this person is underage, is a non-Gambian, or is from somewhere.”
Mr. Njai however said nothing like that was reported to them.
“You are the key stakeholders in this electoral process. We all know that we are going to face this very important electoral cycle. That’s the councilors and Mayors’ Chairpersons. What I can say is both here and abroad, I always bluff that our electoral system is second to known in the whole world. Whether is in Europe, America, or wherever. Because election means voting, and to vote you have a voter’s card,” he said.
The joint briefing took place on Thursday at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center.