By Aisha Tamba
The Independent Election Commission on Monday hosted a four-day regional training of election management bodies in Ecowas on developing actionable external communication plans for an improved relationship between election management bodies and stakeholders.
The capacity building training is organised by the Ecowas Network of Election Commission and aimed at enhancing the capacity of polling bodies to improve communication and transparency in electoral processes.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Kololi, IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai stated that stakeholder engagement is a crucial ingredient in the conduct of any successful election.
He added that “Having a workable communication plan and strategy is an appropriate first step in the electoral process. The successful conduct of external communications will help promote public trust and confidence in the work of the election management bodies.”
Chairman Njai also acknowledged the presence of election officials of the National Election Commission of Liberia (NEC) and the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) saying it ‘demonstrates the importance of capacity building in the electoral process of every country.”
UNDP Resident Representative Aissata De, commended the commission for delivering credible, free and fair elections which is central to safeguarding the sanctity and consolidation of democracy in the country.
Madam De added that communication strategy is the cornerstone of engaging stakeholders in all critical phases of electoral process and helps build public trust and creation of conditions necessary for transparent, inclusive and credible elections.
Deputising for the Ecowas representative to The Gambia Musa Balajo, stressed the necessity to provide electoral commissions of the region a platform to exchange experiences, knowledge, and good practices, in the spirit of collaboration and solidarity.
Enya Braun, from the EU delegation to The Gambia, noted that improvement in communication and transparency are recommended to facilitate better engagement with electoral stakeholders.
She reiterated that as a friend and partner, EU stands ready to support the efforts of Gambian authorities and electoral stakeholders.