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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Letters: Not again Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)

Dear editor,

Why am I the only Gambian since 2016 adamantly but with minimal success drawing the attention of the authorities and all concerned politicians in the county and outside it that the IEC is not only an incompetent institution entrusted with the most critical determinant of our peaceful and orderly national elections but for its ineptitude and dishonesty remains the greatest threat to our national security?

In an article published by the Standard Newspaper Friday, August 6, 2021, the incompetence of the IEC was once again brought to light in their frightening revelation that certain Gambians did register more than the one time allowed to get a single voter’s card. How many of them were involved or the minimum or maximum number of cards each culprit could have possibly gotten away with was either beyond their grasp or a data they prefer to still keep confidential. What they have asserted to the Gambians however is their intention to spend the next sixty day-two months- sorting out the names of those who illegally beat the system.

Once again, by such indefensible act which is not supposed to happen at all the story simply goes to validate my four-year-old argument that Gambian’s election trouble in 2016 that culminated in a dangerous impasse and subsequently degenerated into the reckless and illegal invasion and occupation of the country by ECOWAS foreign troops in what was purely an internal affairs was obviously due to the IEC’s incompetence or fraudulent activities with the latter being more likely than the former to me.

A keen expert following their registration process last week confided to me that attestation documents from the IEC exclusively issued and customized to individuals were xeroxed into numerous copies for other people and even for ineligible persons to register undetected. I had no reason to doubt the revelation from someone who had no cause to lie to me and therefore concluded that trouble is again imminent in the December general election unless the Gambians finally cast aside their dogmatic denial of our flawed IEC and address it with utmost urgency. To register twice undetectable by the system should be serious electoral concern.

And when I talk about addressing it with utmost urgency I mean going nuclear on the commission by changing the suspicious characters in charge including of course the chairman and everyone who was with him when they messed up the 2016 election results. I will come back to that.

But tell me Gambians, what else would it take for us to see the IEC’s ineptitude or fraudulent actions or both after the recent court injunction delegitimizing the registration-attestation powers they accorded to the controversial mayor of Banjul Rohey Malick Lowe who used it for dubious allocation of birthrights to “non-Banjulians”? It is estimated that about 2000 non-Banjulians were registered by the mayor or former German citizen and ex-convict. I am also told that her sister is in Atlanta, Georgia, USA married to the son of no other person than the chairman of the IEC, Alieu Momar Njai.

Chairman Njie’s bias tendencies couldn’t have been better exposed when soon after the 2016 controversial election he said in a television interview that he was proud and very glad to be part of those who ended the Jammeh and APRC government.

Yet the Gambians and our politicians in particular continue to pretend as if nothing has ever gone wrong with this pivotal commission and its members because they just don’t want the world to hear it from them that something fundamentally went wrong in the Gambia’s 2016 elections and the two different set of results compiled by the IEC that had compelled Jammeh to rescind his capitulation to Barrow a week after.

Some of my funny critics have argued that each set of results ultimately added to his defeat which I am perfectly okay with; but can you imagine if Jammeh had not publicly rectified the IEC Chairman for announcing the wrong margin of his defeat which was way higher than the actual 18,000 difference and merely challenged Mr. Njai to go back and figure out his records until the right number was read? It was only when Jammeh rectified his numbers that they realized their errors which we still don’t know how it happened.

It is apparent, that their so-called mistake of “unintentionally transposing certain number of votes in “’URR’” was not under any circumstances supposed to happen. And it has since been a taboo in the country to investigate it, determine how it happened and how to avoid it from ever happening again. It’s the same IEC and more or less the same folks. Hmmmm!

I will concluding by asking few more questions to every Gambian politicians, journalists, intellectuals and scholars; let the UN, AU, ECOWAS and Senegal the hypocrites behind the hypocrisy help me with their answers as well:

With the same IEC in place since 2016, what will we do if two sets of different results are announced again with one of the opposition parties winning the incumbent? Will ECOMIG force President Barrow into exile to “stabilize” the nation? Or let us for instance look at another hypothesis where the IEC announces one set of results today with NPP as winners and two days after they come up with another set of results declaring the UDP winners. What will we do? On whose side will ECOMIG be in that situation? After all, the Gambians still have no clue about the terms and conditions of the deployment of ECOMIG in the country other than the dumb excuse that the government still doest’t trust the Gambia Armed Forces and can’t tell us when that necessary trust will ever be.

By the way we can’t at all rely on the constitution that clearly states that any election result errors shall be resolved by either recounting the votes or doing the election allover again. That law was flouted by all Gambians including our judiciary and, yes, the international community. 

In short, I am definitely not comfortable with the composition, competence and integrity of the IEC, are you?

Samsudeen Sarr

Banjul, The Gambia.

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