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Datasheet: Women outmuscled in National Assembly race

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By Kebba Jeffang

The campaign for women’s empowerment has never been more intense in the country. Political parties across the political spectrum have subscribed to principles of gender equity. Most have publicly made commitments, through speeches and manifestos, to get women on decision making bodies and processes. But how true are political parties to their gender equity promises as the country goes to the polls for National Assembly election on April 9?

In this data-driven fact-sheet, Malagen analyses and filters the data produced by the election management body, unearthing how women are outnumbered by men in the National Assembly race and how political parties have lived up to their gender equity principles. The article also reveals which region produce more female candidates.

After nine days of nominations, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has cleared 251 people to contest as candidates for the National Assembly elections slated for April 9. However, only 19 of them are women. Compared to 232 male contestants, female candidates represent a paltry 7.6% of the total number of candidates. Out of the 19 female candidates, 4 are incumbents – three were elected and one nominated. 

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A total of 12 political parties are participating in the polls. They have put up a combined total of 166 candidates and 16 of those are women. There are 85 candidates that are standing under the independent ticket and only 3 of those are women. 

The UDP has put up 6 female candidates, representing 31% of the total number of female candidates. This is the highest, followed by independents, NPP and PDOIS each accounting for 15.8% of the candidates. APRC, CA, NUP, and GFA each sponsored 5.3% of the female candidates. Several parties have put up zero female candidates.

Parties with female candidates

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Small parties lead. The GFA and NUP are the least prominent among the parties contesting the National Assembly elections. But they have a larger share of female candidates. For instance, GFA is sponsoring only three candidates, including a female candidate. This means the percentage of female candidates is 33.3%, and male account for 66.7% of its candidates. NUP on the other hand is sponsoring a total of 4 candidates, including one female. This means 75% of its candidates are male while 25% are female.

Aminata T.B Jarra is the candidate for GFA in Banjul Central. It is a pool of seven candidates and she is the only woman. If elected, this will be her first time in parliament.

Cheena Bah of NUP is the only female contestant among the four candidates for the Jokadou seat. She is one of seven female candidates in the North Bank Region. If elected, this will be her first time in the National Assembly.

The ruling NPP leads from the bottom. Sponsoring 40 candidates, the party has fielded only 3 candidates, representing 7.5%, compared to male candidates who account for 92.5% of total number of candidates.

Two of the three female NPP candidates are first timers while Fatou K Jawara is seeking re-election. While those two – Musukebba Keita and Aunty Rohey Ceesay – are from the Central River Region, Mrs Jawara is based in Kanifing Municipality and wants to retain her Tallinding seat. She was first elected in 2017 under the UDP ticket and to the National People’s Party (NPP). She has completed her term as an independent candidate.

Next to NPP from the bottom is CA. The party has put up a total of 10 candidates, including only one woman. This represents 10%, compared to male candidates who account for 90%.

Neneh Freeda Gomez,  the spokesperson of the party will battle it out against four male contestants and one female candidate for the Serrekunda West seat. If elected, it will be her first time in parliament.

The UDP has put up 6 female candidates. This is the highest number, but it represents only 13% of the total number of candidates fielded by the party.

Two of the UDP’s female candidates are from Janjanbureh. They are Halimatou Sowe, who is up against seven male candidates for the Lower Saloum seat and Jarai Fayenkeh, contesting the Janjanbureh seat, is up against 3 male candidates.

Kanifing, Brikama, Basse and Kerewan each have one female candidate for the party. All of them are first timers except for Ya Kumba Jaiteh who was nominated into the parliament in 2017 and is now eyeing the Serrekunda seat. She is up against six male candidates.

In the Basse region, there is Tida Kijera eyeing the hotly contested Wuli West seat. Fatou Cham wants to grab the Sanimentereng seat while Maimuna Gaye seeks Ngayen Sanjal seat. She faces competition from four male candidates.

Former ruling APRC party has fielded 6 candidates. Only one of those is a woman. She is the incumbent for Foni Bondali.

PDOIS comes third best. The party is sponsoring 19 candidates, including three female candidates. This represents 15.8% of the total number of the party’s candidates. Only NUP and GFA have done better.

PDOIS candidates are from Kanifing and Brikama. In Kanifing, Aminata Correa is making a second attempt for the Latrikunda Sabiji seat where she battles out with five male candidates while Fatou Sowe wants to take the Serekunda West seat. In the Brikama region, Nyima Lisa Kujabi battles it out with 5 male candidates for the Busumbala seat.

Parties without female candidates

At least 5 participating parties have not put up any female candidate. The GDC leads in this group with up to 27 male candidates and zero female candidates. NRP follows behind with 5 male candidates as the party elects to maintain its 5 incumbents. GMC has 3 male candidates while PPP and APP each have fielded one male candidate.

Banjul and KM go head-to-head as leaders

The urban regions of Banjul and Kanifing go head-to-head as leaders in terms of percentage of female candidates. Banjul has a total of 14 candidates from 3 constituencies while Kanifing has a total of 35 candidates from 7 constituencies. In each of these regions, 14.3% of candidates are female, compared to 85.7 male.

They’re followed by Brikama with 7.9% of female candidates and 92.1% male candidates. The region has a total of 63 candidates from 12 constituencies. Mansakonko with 6 constituencies and 22 candidates leads from the bottom with zero female candidates, followed by Basse with 7 constituencies and only one female candidate. Female candidates represent 6.8% and 6.1% of candidates in Janjanbureh where you have a total of 59 candidates from 11 constituencies and Kerewan where you have 33 candidates from 7 constituencies.   

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