Lamin Cham & Alagie Manneh
The Gambia Democratic Congress has yesterday sent a letter to the Independent Electoral Commission querying the nominations of UDP mayoral candidate Talib Bensouda in KMC, Rambo Jatta and Amadou Suso of the APRC in KM and Basse, respectively.
In the letter, the GDC alleged that Talib Bensouda has breached a nomination criterion since he does not possess a valid voter’s card.
The party also alleged that Amadou Suso and Rambo Jatta of the APRC have both been once convicted and should not be nominated because a court convicted them less than ten years ago and therefore are not qualified to run for the office of chairman or mayor.
The GDC also urged the IEC not to accept the nomination of all candidates not resident in their places of contest especially those in Banjul.
The full letter reads:
“It has come to the notice of the Gambia Democratic Congress Party (GDC) that most of the mayoral candidates in Banjul are not resident in Banjul. Therefore their candidature is unacceptable according to the Local Government Act as well as in the IEC criteria for nomination which states that one must be ordinary resident in an area for 12 months before qualifying to contest in that locality.
“We are not aware of any time that this particular clause has been changed or amended in the Local Government Act. As a result, all non-resident candidates in Banjul should be disqualified with immediate effect.
“This time round the GDC is not accepting any so-called mistakes from the IEC on tabulation of election results in these coming elections. It has happened in the Presidential and the last councilor elections. In fact, the GDC has deployed teams in all Regions to tabulate results as supplied from different polling stations. Any small mistake in the collation centers from the IEC will put this country into serious problems because we will not compromise with the integrity of the result.
The IEC must be seen to be independent and credible as for elections are concerned in this country.
Secondly, the APRC chairperson candidate in Basse area council was convicted and fined in June 2012. As a result the IEC know that a convict can only contest elections after 10 years. Therefore, we are also challenging the nomination of that candidate as well.
We expect the IEC to play their referee role to the letter without fear or favor. Failure to do so, the entire world will question your integrity and put Gambia’s democratic gains at risk.
“Thirdly, the United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate for Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) mayor has no valid biometric voter’s card and therefore should be disqualified.
“We solicited your speedy action into the complaints put before you because GDC will not compromise the integrity of our elections and the laws of the land.”
Meanwhile, as we went to press last night the GDC sent another statement querying the nomination of APRC’s Rambo Jatta, saying Rambo was convicted 8 years ago.
“APRC mayoral candidate for KMC Rambo Jatta was convicted by Magistrate Lamin Mboge at Kanifing Magistrates Court in November 2010. He was charged for fighting in a public place with one Basiru Bojang. He was sentenced and fined D1000 or two months in prison. Given the above information, we are urging the IEC to reject his candidature.”
However, the returning Officer of the IEC for KM Lamin Cham when contacted said the GDC’s claims are strange and baseless because Talib Bensouda presented his voter’s card in front of television cameras when he arrived at the IEC to file his papers on Tuesday.
“That is baseless because Bensouda like all other candidates have presented his voter’s card on nomination day,” Mr cham said.
On the GDC’s query about APRC’s Rambo Jatta, the IEC returning officer said their office has not seen any communication from the GDC about that.
“In any case I can definitely inform you that the scrutiny process has been concluded and all 11 candidates in KM have been written to confirming their nominations,” Mr Cham emphasized.
On the GDC claim against APRC’s Amadou Suso of Basse who they alleged is also an ex convict, the IEC spokesman Joseph Colley told The Standard that they are waiting for their returning officer in that area for confirmation or otherwise.