By Lamin Cham
The Independent Electoral Commission has confirmed it will sit over concerns and pleas from both residents of Foni and aspiring National Assembly candidates over the growing instability in the area, which resulted in a mass displacement of people and affected political activity in most of the five constituencies.
“We have received concern from candidates that they cannot hold campaign meetings in some places because people have moved out of their villages and constituencies. There have even been official reports about displacement of people. In the light of all these, the IEC commissioners will meet over the matter and come out with a position. But any decision has to follow consultations with stakeholders, the security authorities included,” PRO Pa Khan told The Standard.
The National Assembly elections will be held on the 9th April across the country but in the last few weeks, fighting between Senegalese army and MFDC rebels near the Gambian border area of Foni has led to a huge influx of refugees from Casamance as well as a mass displacement of Gambians living near the border. Thousands of displaced people have either moved to the Kombos or to other parts of Foni from their constituencies.