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Friday, May 24, 2024


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By Alagie Manneh

The United Democratic Party yesterday called a press briefing to condemn what it called serious allegations that the ruling NPP is engaged in electoral fraud ahead of tomorrow’s councilor elections.

Addressing the media Alagie Modou Sarr, a representative of the UDP at the Inter-Party Committee alleged that he was called and informed about vote buying in Banjul by one gentleman who was caught and reported to police by Banjul South NAM Touma Njai since the incident happened in her constituency.

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“Upon arrival at the police station, I met some surrogates of the governing NPP at the entrance of the police station and I went directly to ask the police officers about it. One police officer told me the matter has already been taken care of and was reluctant to give me details. The following morning, I went back to the station and asked for the commissioner responsible for the Banjul areas but I was told he had stepped out. I then went to see her deputy and after I explained everything, the deputy called the station officer and asked if he knew what transpired and the station officer said yes, but added that they didn’t do anything about it because it was a civil matter. But I told them the suspect shouldn’t have been released because we did not know whether the two voter cards found on him were the only ones he bought and that there could be more. I told them we will take the matter forward at which point the commissioner told me they have an officer representing them at the IEC and that they will forward the matter there and get back to me later. It’s now been two days and they have not done that,” Modou Sarr said.

The spokesperson of the party, Almami Taal said: “Elections are never won or lost on election day itself.  The UDP has been contesting elections for the last 25 years or so, and in all elections we have tried to comply fully with all the laws of the land. What we have seen since 2016 however is the continuous erosion of the rule of law where elections are concerned. What is going on in Banjul I think we are all aware of it. And at this juncture I would like to pay tribute to Honorable Fatoumata ‘Touma’ Njie for her solidarity and for her citizen activism to ensure that no electoral malpractices happen in her constituency. We have also heard her audios expressing solidarity with the three councillor candidates that are standing in Banjul South that she is supporting them because one of them is a lady and they are standing under the banner of the UDP.”

Tombong Saidy, the UDP administrative secretary said vote buying is another tactic employed by the NPP ahead of tomorrow’s election.

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“There are several examples like these throughout the country. For the NPP, the only means of winning the election or having some candidates is to induce people and offer candidates money for them to withdraw from the election. We have seen the PPP candidate who withdrew in URR, and some UDP candidates also withdrew. One of them was even accompanied by Seedy Njie to the Janjanbureh IEC office for the person to offer his letter of withdrawal.”

The party’s candidate for the Brikama chairmanship election, Yankuba Darboe, stated: “This voter buying thing or inducement that people are alleging is not only [ allegation now. Evidence has now been provided to the police as Modou Sarr narrated in the Banjul case. We are hearing a lot of these stories or narratives from people all across West Coast. And the unfortunate thing is that the police are not doing anything about it and that is quite serious because they need to be  proactively doing something to deter people from being engaged in this. Because this is fraud, period. It’s a voter fraud. It goes to undermine the credibility of our electoral system completely. And unfortunately, the IEC, who are supposed to take a lead in this are also not taking serious action. We expect them to issue a statement, a stern warning advising all parties to desist from such actions, but they are not doing that.”

NPP reacts

Meanwhile the NPP has issued statement denying allegations that its member was engaged in vote buying in Banjul. 

The statement reads: “It has come to our attention that a false and baseless allegation is making social media rounds (sic) that our chairman in Jollof Town ward is going around buying voters’ cards in the city. Apparently this ridiculous and laughable joke is being peddled by frantic and hysteric anti-NPP elements in Banjul, who know well that their candidates may not even get their deposits in the fast approaching local government elections. In the face of the massive and thunderous NPP campaign in the city, they are jittery and restless and wouldn’t stop at nothing to throw a pebble in the highly anticipated calm waters of a very peaceful elections. The NPP National Executive Committee is aware that one of the party supporters in Banjul was called to a police station to shed light on the matter. NPP takes great pride in it’s highly esteemed and well respected national and international image and reputation as a very peaceful and strictly law abiding party. The party has enormous respect for the Independent Electoral Commission, and will always respect the laid down rules and regulations of the Commission. The NPP will always play by the book, and will always seek the best way to cooperate with all progressive political parties and similar minded institutions in solidifying the well-established democratic base of Gambian politics.  Our party was given an overwhelming mandate by the Gambian people to govern the country for the next five years and we value and cherish this honour and privilege with gratitude and great humility. The idea that opposition parties are pointing fingers at members of the mighty NPP for vote buying and clandestine activities in Banjul is to say the least preposterous and totally out of sync with reality. How can anyone who has an inkling of the terrain of Gambian politics this year, the high level of party discipline in general in NPP, and the sheer force of confidence of it’s campaign in Banjul, believe such a far-fetched and hilarious hocus-pocus? The NPP, the progressive people’s movement is appealing to all its militants, members and supporters to come together, close ranks tighter than ever, and come out in our usual thousands on poling day, and vote massively for our gallant councillors, chairmen and mayors, all over the country, and with the weight of your marble, restore peace, sanity, progress and development in our local government authorities, as richly deserved by the peace loving people of the Gambia.”

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