By Omar Bah
Former Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) has urged the Independent Electoral Commission to ensure credible and transparent parliamentary elections. Briefing a group of imminent persons consisting of religious leaders, and civil society Mohammed Ibn Chambas said the IEC and the Inter-Party Committee should ensure there is level playing field for all candidates who want to contest the April parliamentary elections.
“The IEC and the IPC should work in the spirit of ensuring that fair play will prevail so that all those who would wish to be candidates for the National Assembly elections will have the opportunity to do that. The condition should be there to ensure that there is a level playing field for all the candidates,” he said.
Chambas said IDEA has undertaken the responsibility to be available to play a role along with the IPC and civil society to ensure a continued effort to ensure the parliamentary campaign and elections are conducted in a peaceful manner in the spirit of national unity.
“The CSOs and the media should ensure all the candidates focus on what is their intent and plans for their constituencies and how to impact lives in their constituencies and avoid utterances that will divide this country. We want to see a united Gambia,” Chambas said.
The former UN Envoy who was just from meeting political party representatives added: “At the end of the day, we always want The Gambia to be the winner and continue to be the Smiling Coast of Africa and the rest of the world. Now that President Adama Barrow has taken his oath, things should move on and I want to call on the civil society to play their role.”
Chambas said IDEA will remain a friend and partner of the Gambia, especially the civil society.
Turning to the continent, Chambas said: “Africa should pay attention to preventing coups d’état by ensuring that elections are credible and transparent so that at the end of the day, every objective observer can say all the factors were there to ensure peaceful and credible process and procedures were there to ensure everybody participated in their free will in secrecy.”