27.2 C
City of Banjul
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
spot_img
spot_img

IEC rejects criticisms of EU Observers

- Advertisement -

By Alagie Manneh

The electoral commission has reacted to some of the indictments by the EU Election Observer Mission, rejecting them as mere “political views”.

In its final report issued a week ago, the mission said among other things that it observed a general lack of transparency about the work of the IEC, and that the commission did virtually nothing to address the numerous electoral malpractices in the lead up to the December presidential election.

- Advertisement -

“The distribution of various goods during the campaign was a widespread negative phenomenon. There were also widespread allegations of distributions of money through village chiefs [alkalolu] reported to EU EOM observers. These illegal practices were also reported by citizen observer groups and the media, and were in breach of the Elections Act and the IEC Code of Ethics, however no action was taken by the IEC,” the observers reported.

It added that the abuse of state resources for campaigning was also observed during the election process, providing significant advantage to the incumbent. The observers said the IEC has a responsibility to address these issues.

But Pa Makhan Khan, the spokesperson of the commission, disagreed: “Most of the issues the report talked about had to do with electoral laws and those are a matter for the National Assembly. It is only the parliament that can do the necessary enactments, or the necessary amendments.

- Advertisement -

 “With reference to the campaign, the Election Act does not have anything on campaign financing. So, it’s difficult to say how much political parties spent on in their campaigns and all that. Going forward, this should be a matter as far as the electoral reforms are concerned,” he said.

He said the IEC has no evidence of any electoral malpractice, contrary to what the report intimated. “We don’t have evidence of milling machines and millions [of dalasis] being given to communities. I would say that’s their own analysis, but for us, going by the electoral laws, those are things the commission cannot control.”

The EU observers recommended for the strengthening of the institutional independence of the IEC by establishing an inclusive mechanism for the selection and appointment of the IEC chairperson and commissioners which is currently made by the president.

But Pa Makhan said that will be even more problematic when commissioners have to be appointed by stakeholders.

“It will create more problems especially when some people from the political parties would have to be part of the decision-making of appointing commissioners. These recommendations are their political views, but it may not be the most suitable in the Gambian context. They have a right to recommend however they think,” he sai

The electoral commission has reacted to some of the indictments by the EU Election Observer Mission, rejecting them as mere “political views”.

In its final report issued a week ago, the mission said among other things that it observed a general lack of transparency about the work of the IEC, and that the commission did virtually nothing to address the numerous electoral malpractices in the lead up to the December presidential election.

“The distribution of various goods during the campaign was a widespread negative phenomenon. There were also widespread allegations of distributions of money through village chiefs [alkalolu] reported to EU EOM observers. These illegal practices were also reported by citizen observer groups and the media, and were in breach of the Elections Act and the IEC Code of Ethics, however no action was taken by the IEC,” the observers reported.

It added that the abuse of state resources for campaigning was also observed during the election process, providing significant advantage to the incumbent. The observers said the IEC has a responsibility to address these issues.

But Pa Makhan Khan, the spokesperson of the commission, disagreed: “Most of the issues the report talked about had to do with electoral laws and those are a matter for the National Assembly. It is only the parliament that can do the necessary enactments, or the necessary amendments.

 “With reference to the campaign, the Election Act does not have anything on campaign financing. So, it’s difficult to say how much political parties spent on in their campaigns and all that. Going forward, this should be a matter as far as the electoral reforms are concerned,” he said.

He said the IEC has no evidence of any electoral malpractice, contrary to what the report intimated. “We don’t have evidence of milling machines and millions [of dalasis] being given to communities. I would say that’s their own analysis, but for us, going by the electoral laws, those are things the commission cannot control.”

The EU observers recommended for the strengthening of the institutional independence of the IEC by establishing an inclusive mechanism for the selection and appointment of the IEC chairperson and commissioners which is currently made by the president.

But Pa Makhan said that will be even more problematic when commissioners have to be appointed by stakeholders.

“It will create more problems especially when some people from the political parties would have to be part of the decision-making of appointing commissioners. These recommendations are their political views, but it may not be the most suitable in the Gambian context. They have a right to recommend however they think,” he said.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img