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IEC urged to consider rescheduling elections

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By Omar Bah

Alhagie Mbye Jeng, a retired civil servant has urged the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) to engage the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to reschedule this month’s Local Government Councils elections until after Ramadan and Lent to allow unhindered participation by all ciizens.

The electoral commission is set to conduct the councillors’ elections later this month, but according to the 81-year-old Jeng, it is improper to conduct elections in this important period for both Muslims and Christians.

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“You cannot conduct elections during the month of Ramadan and Lent. We are concerned that during the campaign people will be dancing and drumming all over the place. That is unacceptable, so I call on the Islamic Council and the president to engage the IEC to postpone the elections because it doesn’t tell well and other elder too should come out and advise the IEC,” Jeng said. 

 On a similar development, the deputy head of mission in the Gambia High Commission in London, Suntou Touray, also urged the IEC to in the future, engage religious leaders before setting election dates.

“The IEC is an independent entity. However; it will be good if they factor in the cardinal realities of the majority of people in the country. Politics is a secular expression of one’s opinion, wishes and desires. How can the Muslim month of Ramadan and Lent for Christians be a suitable period for holding elections with all fanfare and festivities it goes with?”, Touray told The Standard.

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He said the IEC like other institutions should adjust their thinking and conduct important events away from sacred months or periods.

“It will make the elections more holistic and effective. The IEC should in future consult with the Supreme Islamic Council and The Gambia Christian Council to help make informed decisions that will avoid elections taking place within months of fasting,” he added.

He said the month of Ramadan requires that people keep their mouths and seek forgiveness.

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