The Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) has issued a statement calling on electorates to resist any temptation to sell their voters cards.
The party statement shared with The Standard reads: “We have examined the consequences of vote-buying and we write to extend our fervent disappointment over this issue. Vote-buying has been very popular in our election and a series of complaints have been forwarded to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) with no meaningful actions taken. This practice has weakened our democracy since some candidates won elections based on their financial muscle. Vote-buying is morally and legally wrong and it has a great negative impact on electoral behaviour. By looking at voter turnout and candidates’ selection in some areas where campaigns took place, we can infer the likely effect of voter turnout and electoral outcomes. It is also sad to know that even though vote-buying is a criminal act, no action has ever been taken by the IEC to bring those committing the act to book. There are so many instances where material evidence has been presented to the IEC only to be comforted with ‘we will investigate’. We have seen how vote-buying deters good aspiring political leaders from running for office or discourage them an entry to political office because money is chosen by the electorates over ideas or experience. Vote-buying is seriously undermining our democracy and the franchise rights of all citizens, as it enables poor governments and undercuts citizens’ ability to hold their elected officials accountable,” the party said.
The GDC statement went on: “Vote-buying is a contentious issue in our contemporary discourse on the sustainability of democratic development in The Gambia. Our laws towards vote-buying are dead and buried because the implementers do not take the needful actions. It is with evidence that most of these embarrassing acts are from the ruling party and as a result they are not law abiding. It has serious implications, because bias in the implementation of law can lead people in their own directions that we do not expect. Recently, an NPP stalwart supporter has been caught buying votes in Banjul and it has reached the police. This we believe is more than the needed evidence to act accordingly with the law. What has been the outcome? Nothing. The ruling party will be protected at all cost at the detriment of our own laws.”