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EWC reveals final report on 2022-2023 local gov’t elections

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By Aminata S. Kuyateh   

The Elections Watch Committee on Wednesday revealed the final report of local government elections from June 2022 to June 2023 in the Gambia held at Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The Elections Watch Committee (EWC) in partnership with seven organisations of different expertise and background Peace Ambassadors-The Gambia (PAG), Activista, National Youth Parliament (NYP), Think Young Women (TYW), Beakanyang, Peace Hub-The Gambia (PHTG), and Th Gambia federation of the Disabled (GFD)collaborating to observe the electoral process in The Gambia.

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The election watch project is financed with the assistance from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and with the technical support from the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

In its observation efforts, the EWC seeks to promote youth, women and PWD’s participation in the electoral process in The Gambia by promoting and fostering peace and stability before, during, and after election.

The EWC observation of the local government (councilor, mayor and chairperson) elections reports showed that the elections were generally peaceful throughout the country, although there were a few critical incidents reported due to technical and administrative lapses or challenges. However, these were not enough to undermine the integrity and credibility of the electoral process. The observers’ reported that polling stations mostly opened on time, had all essential materials and party agents as well as the present of security forces.

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The report showed that in the 2023 local government elections, most especially the councilor election, a good number of young people participated in taking up leadership positions. Many young people, women and persons with disabilities also played a crucial role in the election observation duties by serving as domestic observers to ensure the credibility and transparency of both the councilor, mayor chairperson election.

The report also showed that during the mayoral and chairperson elections, the EWC observers in Banjul reported incidents between NPP and UDP party supporters in different polling streams within the area. The altercations between the two-party supporters involved physical fights, which started as a result of attempts to campaign for their candidate at the polling stream. it was reported that these incidents disrupted the voting process, as voting was put on pause until the issues was resolve by the police.

Similarly, in Bakau, the EWC observers reported an incident of a voter in possession of two voter cards. The EWC commends the presiding officer’s actions in seizing the voter cards and not allowing the voter to cast the vote before demanding and investigation and a clarification from the IEC on the issues.

The EWC made recommendations to various election stakeholders on a series of issues aimed at making the Gambia’s election processes more peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible, thereby boosting citizens’ confidence in the electoral system. These include long and short-term recommendation specific to different election stakeholders.

The EWC recommend IEC to publish all official election result, including the 2021 Presidential election and 2022 National Assembly results, on the IEC’s website in a timely, granular and machine analyzable format. As outlined in section two (2) of the Open Election Data principles.

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