By Lamin Cham
Six independent aspirants and the flag-bearer of the Alliance for National Re-orientation and Development (ANRD) have filed their nomination papers at the IEC over the weekend.
Marie Sock the first woman to seek nomination for the presidency, along with former justice minister Joseph Joof, and educator-cum-businessman Alhaji Mamadi Kurang filed their papers on Saturday. The fourth person scheduled that day, Mathew Gomez, turned up to announce his withdrawal from the race.
On Sunday, three more independent aspirants Ebrima Tabora Manneh, Banky Bankole Yao Jojo Ahadzie and ‘Professor’ Momodou Bah also filed their papers, followed by retired general Lamin Bojang of ANRD.
All seven filed papers proving their eligibility for the 12-point criteria set by the commission for presidential aspirants. They all have up to Friday to submit any document not readily available with them.
IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai informed the aspirants that their papers would be scrutinised by the IEC to ascertain their eligibility in line with the12–point criteria on Saturday whereupon each would be issued with a letter of acceptance or rejection of their candidacy.
“The public would also have the right to scrutinise your papers too as the information would be displayed here at the IEC premises,” Njai told the aspirants.
The nomination process continues today with Ousainu Darboe of the UDP, Mai Fatty of GMC, Bakary Dabo of GFA and Ebrima Jagne of the APP to file their papers.
However, on Saturday, Bakary Dabo’s party announced he will not contest the election and would now endorse the UDP flag-bearer Ousainu Darboe. This means Dabo may not show up today or even if he does turn up, he would only come to announce his withdrawal.
In the same vein, the APP and the GMC are part of a newly-formed alliance but with no flag bearer yet named for that alliance, both party leaders are expected to file their nomination papers as scheduled. With record 25 aspirants, the IEC will receive nomination papers until Thursday.
For the first time and because of Covid-19 protocols, the nomination process is conducted in an open space under a tent accessible by the aspirants and their entourage of not more than 50 people, the press and observers.