By Alagie Manneh
Ahead of the eagerly-awaited local government election in April, the IEC chairman has spoken of its ‘cardinal’ importance.
He said it constitutes a “key pillar” in the promotion and building of grass-roots democracy in the country.
Chairman Alieu Momarr Njai was addressing the press Thursday, designed to update the media on the electoral commission’s activities leading to the April 12 polls.
He said: “In relation to development and popular representation, local government election brings citizen representation to the door-step of the voters. It is through the representatives in local government that citizens can raise concern for the provision of basic social and development facilities such as roads, car parks, street lights, markets, refuse disposal, management of local resources and services.”
Giving an overview of the impending polls, the chairman elucidated: “The elections activities would include a nomination period which will be held from 13 to 17 March, 2018. This would be followed by a campaign period from 21 March to 10 April, 2018. Election of mayors/mayoresses would be held in Banjul and Kanifing municipality whilst that of councilors would be held in the 120 wards across the country.”
He said nomination forms would be issued at all regional offices starting from 12 February, 2018, while replacing of voters cards is scheduled from 11 December, 2017 to 10 January 2018.
The chairman also talked on qualifications for the upcoming election, which include but not limited to being Gambian; having a registered voter’s card; assets declaration and others.
The chairman also used the briefing to caution politicians who are bent on exploiting tribal lines to immerse political support.
He called on Gambians to come out and vote, referring them to his commission’s clarion call that “election is the business of all.”