By Omar Bah
The Independent Electoral Commission has rejected the registration of the country’s newest political party, People’s Alliance Party (PAP).
The party formed by Ebrima Manneh, son of the late Lower Niumi chief Tabora Manneh would have been the country’s 19th political party.
In May, Mr Manneh, an economist, announced his intention to challenge President Adama Barrow for the top job in the December poll.
If successful, Manneh would have joined a crowded field of 18 registered political parties and three independent presidential aspirants.
The 50-year-old was expecting his party to be registered by the IEC in time for him to start campaigning ahead of December.
However, in a letter seen by The Standard IEC Chairman Alieu Momar Njai stated: “I wish to inform you that the list of voters and signatures that you submitted to support your political party registration has been nullified by the Independent Electoral Commission and therefore it cannot be used because it was declared null and void.
“You may wish to collect signatures on the list of voters that is currently being compiled by the IEC after its completion to get your application for political party registration considered by the IEC.”
Reacting to the IEC letter, Mr Manneh told The Standard: “During our discussion with the CEO of the IEC, we have been informed that it is against the laws of the land for the IEC to recognise the list of the old voters’ cards from the 29th of May 2021 when the new voter card registration commenced even though we started the collection and tabulation of the voters and signatories in the first week of April 2021.”
Manneh appealed to the IEC to consider the energy, time, effort and resources that his party expended in collecting the 10,000 voter’s cards and signatures after the commission supplied them with the forms at the beginning of April.
“As law-abiding citizens and in compliance with the decision of the IEC we accept your decision and recommendation in good faith. We will, yet again, proceed with the collection of the new voter’s cards and signatures and hope that when those are submitted you will give due consideration to process them speedily to enable us to partake in the coming presidential elections as per the wishes of many Gambians throughout the country. Additionally, we would like to be furnished with the information to register as an independent candidate for the coming presidential election,” Manneh stated in his letter of reply .