By Omar Bah
The Inter-Party Committee (IPC), a group established to foster dialogue between political parties and promote peaceful elections in The Gambia, has condemned the abuse of state resources in election campaigns.
The EU Election Observation Mission recently released a report which alleged campaign malpractices during the recent presidential election campaign including abuse of state resources by President Barrow’s NPP.
IPC’s condemnation comes days after a letter was issued by the Office of the Secretary General requesting for government vehicles to be mobilised for the upcoming president’s Meet the People Tour which opposition elements say is in fact a campaign tour to drum up support for NPP candidates in the upcoming legislative election.
At a stakeholders dialogue held yesterday on abuse of state resources organised by Gambia Participates with support from IFES, Ms Isatou Ceesay delivered a statement on behalf of the IPC co-chair Musa Amul Nyassi in which he noted that the committee “is conscious of the possibility of the use of public resources by political parties especially the party in government”.
The IPC argued that it is a violation of election campaign ethics for a political party to use public resources for its campaign.
“During a contest by different political parties in national elections, it would be an infringement of the standard rules of engagement if one of the contesting parties is allowed and able to use state resources that belong to everyone during the campaign period, while others are left to draw support from only their party and or individual sources,” she said.
He added that the abuse of state resources “can give more advantage to one party at the expense of the other and therefore may result in a violation of the IPC codes of conduct by aggrieved and opposing political parties”.
“In order to avoid this possible repercussion, the IPC will be willing to work with both the Independent Electoral Commission and civil society organisations within the confines of the law and the mandate of the IPC to discourage this culture of electioneering in the Gambia. This practice, if discouraged and totally abandoned, shall create a level playing field for all parties,” the IPC said.