By Omar Bah
The Gambia Democratic Congress, GDC, has said it will be absurd, useless and extremely oxymoronic for the opposition political parties to even think of participating in an election that is predetermined by deliberate electoral malpractice machinery.
The party further described as “unacceptable and dangerous” government’s inaction over allegations that Senegalese nationals easily access Gambian ID Cards.
Last December, Senegalese parliamentarian, Oumar Cissé Souvané, alleged that the majority of people in his community in Casamance have Gambian identity cards because it is very easy to get.
His comment has since drawn widespread reactions from Gambians from all walks of life including politicians who demand for government immediate action. But since the MP made the claims, the government has not commented on the matter.
Concerned about the government’s inaction, the GDC spokesperson Abdoulie Jallow said the government’s silence over the matter could only demonstrate their complicity and guilt in the alleged registration of Senegalese nationals.
“The GDC views with utter disgust and suspicion, the lackadaisical manner in which our government is handling the serious allegation levelled by a Senegalese Member of Parliament (MP) regarding the use of Gambian ID and voter cards by Senegalese nationals living in the Casamance region during our elections. We have followed the matter with extreme patience waiting for an official statement and call for a participatory investigation into the issue; involving representatives of all political parties and the government but all we have seen is government’s passivity and mute indifference over the matter,” he said.
This, Jallow added, is very dangerous and could compromise the country’s electoral process especially the local government election because the opposition whose doubts were justified by the Senegalese MP could be tempted to reject the outcome of the results.
“A serious government would have no doubt expressed concerns about the claims of the Senegalese MP because it poses serious national security threats. So, the government’s attitude tantamount to a complicity in the midst of the prevalence of this manner of bizarre national embarrassment. What does this portray? One is forced to believe that there is a hanging need to use these Senegalese’ voters’ cards during the forthcoming Local Government election by a particular political party to ensure its victory as it happens in the presidential election,” he added.
Jallow added that if the government “is not a beneficiary of the possession of Gambian ID and voter cards by foreigners living in the nooks and crannies of the Casamance region of Senegal, one would expect them to act swiftly to investigate the allegations, as it is an issue of very grave national concern, that carries severe consequence on our national security as well as on the credibility of our elections.”
The former National Assembly member said the IEC cannot assure credible elections with the current voter register.
“So, what is the role of the IEC in the design, formulation and implementation of this electoral fraud or crime? Why is the IEC not concerned with the proliferation of Gambian voters’ cards in a neighboring country? Why are we in this state of national mess? Why is the IEC sounding deaf over the issue? Why is the government treating such a serious issue that affects our national security and credibility of our elections with a clear manner of passivity and docility? Does this not imply taking Gambians for granted?” Jallow asked.
Jallow said the government should initiate a joint investigation comprising members of the opposition political parties and representatives of the government to establish the veracity of the serious allegations, and if proven as true, find ways of remedying it.
“As of now, we all are forced to believe that the allegations are true – that hundreds of thousands of Gambian voters’ cards and ID cards are in the hands of foreigners surrounding us, and are waiting and prepared to vote in the forthcoming Local Government elections. With this sad scenario, our national sovereignty, security and credibility of our elections has been undermined and gravely abused. We therefore demand that the government take the matter very seriously,” he added.
He said the government should understand that it is criminal for any Gambian to aid and abate foreigners to interfere in our electoral process.”
“It is also vital for the government to understand that interference by foreign entities in other nation’s domestic elections have shaken and in fact wrecked many democracies around the world,” he added.