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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

FTJ defends electoral system, rubbishes opposition claims

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Fabakary Tombong Jatta, who is also the Serekunda East representative, went on to rubbish claims by the opposition of his party’s abuse of incumbency by ‘using state funds for party activities’. 

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He told The Standard: “The Gambia’s electoral law is second to none in the sub-region. You can go and find out. As I often tell people, I have attended several elections in several parts of Africa on an election observer mission. We may have our limitations, but we are second to no place in terms of the process of elections. Our electoral system is one of the best in Africa, without dispute. In fact, what these opposition are crying over as flaws in the electoral law are so minor that they are negligible.

“I don’t even understand what the opposition meant by ‘IEC is not independent or unfair’? The Independent Electoral Commission is dictated by its own laws and these are the laws of the land. If the IEC is not fair, will the opposition or independent candidates have won seats in the National Assembly? There is no fact to back the opposition claims that APRC uses state funds in our campaigns. I am a member of the finance committee of the APRC and when there is to be an election, we raise funds and share it among our constituencies to do their campaign. Is that coming from the state? APRC members do not just raise funds, we also do individual contributions.  And the so-called use of ‘state vehicles’ that they complain about is equally absurd. The military people and the state apparatus accompany the president on his campaign trail. Do they want us to leave the president alone in the bush without military men and anyone accompanying him? The people are not voting for President Jammeh because of those military vehicles.”

He continued: “It is the wish of the APRC to be as democratic as possible; to allow the people to make their choices without any interference as to who leads them. If they [opposition] have any observation on the legislative system, let them channel their queries to the parliament. But what I can tell you is that if Gambian opposition want to have so much respect and recognition, they must also prove to be honest and loyal to the service of the Gambian people. The opposition in this country have often time demonstrated gross professional dishonesty. The APRC has given the opposition all the space for their effective participation in governance. We have not discarded them. They are the ones not forthcoming and we are not going to drag them closer.”

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