By Omar Bah
The GDC NAM for Jimara, Alhagie Sowe has accused the IEC of registering non-Gambians and minors in Mankamang Kunda.
He said his party is closely monitoring events in the president’s home village and will take the IEC to court immediately after the registration process is completed for redress.
“There’s massive [voter registration] manipulation in Mankamang Kunda,” Sowe told The Standard yesterday evening from his base in Jimara.
“We have clear evidence that they are registering non-Gambians and minors. We are collecting all the facts and surely we are going to sue the IEC once the registration process is concluded. We are not going to let this go unpunished,” he said.
The lawmaker said he approached the IEC on the matter. He urged the electoral commission to immediately provide an explanation, adding, “an insufficient response from the IEC could render the whole process questionable”.
Mr Sowe said the IEC should explain why it allocated Mankamang Kunda a registration centre for the first time.
“As far as I am concerned, the registration centre in the president’s village is premeditated to register non-Gambians. It should not have been there in the first place because it has never been there and there is no justification for it,” he said.
When contacted for reaction, the director of communications at the IEC, Pa Makan Khan, said: “The registration of non-Gambians and minors in Mankamang Kunda is news to me. Unless I find out from the IEC’s team. As far as we are concerned, we are following due process in registering people who produce the required documents but anybody who wants to contest the registration of anybody, the person is free to do so in the courts.”
Mr Khan said he doubts how minors can be registered because the software they use has “a cutoff date and anybody who will not be 18 years by December 4th cannot be accepted by the computer”.
Mankamang registration center
The IEC spokesperson said the allocation of registration centre in Mankamang Kunda is purely meant to ease difficulties voters face to trek kilometres to go and register.
“The IEC realised that the population in the area was growing and given that the objective of the commission is to bring electoral services to the doorstep of every Gambian, we thought it prudent to increase our registration centres around the country to avoid making people walk kilometres to be registered,” he said.
He added: “Mankamang Kunda was under Julangel but this year we decided to divide Julangel into two and allocate Mankamang Kunda with a registration centre and the same obtained throughout the country. This is why our centres rose from 336 in 2011, to 730, an increment of 94 new centres across the country and Mankamang Kunda being one of the fastest growing villages in the area, a centre was allocated there.”