By Lamin Cham
All the six certified candidates for the presidential election have agreed to a 14-point code of conduct brokered by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA.
The process was initiated by the Ministry of Justice and aimed at getting the candidates signing up to a code of conduct that will ensure a peaceful election.
The agreement committed the candidates to adhere to the following: 1. to run issue-based political campaigns; 2. to publicly condemn violence, intimidation and political thuggery; 3. to refrain from and condemn the use of religious, sectarian, ethnic and tribal politics in campaigns; 4. to refrain from making or causing others to make in their names or in the name of their parties any public statements, pronouncements, declarations or speeches that have the potential to incite any form of ethnic, tribal or religious sentiment; 5. to strongly condemn all acts of electoral violence whether perpetuated by themselves, their supporters or their opponents; 6. to cooperate with the IEC and other political parties and candidates in ensuring the orderly scheduling of political activities to avoid clashes of political processions, meetings, rallies and other activities; 7. to not engage in vote buying; 8. to take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure the safety and protection of electoral officers from any form of threats, abuse or violence and to assist in the protection of election materials from wilful damage; 9. to cooperate with the IEC and law enforcement institutions to act professionally and impartially in investigating electoral disputes whether at the polling station or in the community; 10. to accept the results of the election as announced by the chairperson of the IEC; 11. to restrain their supporters from resorting to violence in the aftermath of the elections; 12. to resort to judicial processes to address disputes which may arise from the elections; 13. to commit themselves, their parties and supporters to the monitoring of adherence to this code of conduct by a committee of eminent statesmen and women, traditional and religious leaders; and 14. to take the responsibility of communicating the tenets of the code of conduct to all their followers.
Four of the six candidates – Ousainu Darboe of UDP, Essa Faal independent, Abdoulie Jammeh of NUP and Halifa Sallah of PDOIS – signed by themselves while Adama Barrow and Mamma Kandeh were represented by trade minister Seedy Keita and GDC deputy leader Abdoulie Kah respectively.
IDEA selected Mohamed Ibn Chambas the former UN envoy to West Africa as the eminent person to the process assisted by local facilitators Ousman Yarbo and Elizabeth Renner.
IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai assured the candidates and audience a free and fair election on 4th December.