Observers declare elections ‘free, fair, transparent’

Observers declare elections 'free, fair, transparent'

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By Omar Bah

The CSO Coalition on Elections has described The Gambia’s presidential election as free, fair and transparent despite the rejection of the results by three parties.

“The elections were conducted generally in an atmosphere of transparency and fairness as observed by domestic and international observers,” Tango chairman John Njie told journalists yesterday at the Coco Ocean Hotel.

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“We remind political parties as signatories of the Janjangbureh Peace Accord of their general commitments to ensuring and safeguarding peace at all times and to accept the outcome of votes and results as announced by IEC as long as the election is adjudged to be free, fair and credible, devoid of intimidation, violence and conducted in accordance with the provisions of the law; knowing that our laws provide avenues for legal redress should that be necessary,” Njie said.

Njie reminded the six presidential candidates to resort to judicial processes to address disputes which may arise from elections.

“We hereby state that based on our elections observation findings throughout the December 4th presidential elections, we conclude that the elections are free and fair. However, we take note of the rejection of the election results released so far by the Ousainu Darboe (UDP) Mamma Kandeh (GDC) and Essa Faal (independent candidate).

“We recognise their rights to raise legitimate concerns and seek redress as provided for under the laws of the land We urge them to bear in mind of their solemn duty to uphold the rule of law, maintain the peace and national cohesion, and conduct themselves in line with the democratic norms and standards we are known for as a nation,” Njie said.

He urged all political party leaders, supporters and citizens to be guided by the supreme interest of the country at all times.

The observers have informed journalists that most of the heads of missions are engaging the candidates who have rejected the results to prevail on them “not to use any other means other than the laid down procedures to pursue their grievances”.

The observers said voting was generally peaceful except for a few incidents at Kaur Janneh Kunda 2, one person was denied voting as she came with her voter card which displayed only a picture but no name, serial number and polling centre.

“There was high voter turnout across all polling stations observed, particularly among women and youth,” the observers added.