By Olimatou Coker
Peace Ambassador The Gambia (PAG) has called on The Gambia Police Force and other security agencies to increase presence of uniformed security personnel across the country to help keep the peace in the run up the December 4 election.
The call was made at a monthly stakeholder dialogue on their findings on the recent voter registration exercise.
Peace Ambassador The Gambia (PAG) is a voluntary non-profit peace education and advocacy organization operating in The Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau. Since its inception in 2001, Peace education and conflict resolution have served as the basis of the organization’s existence.
Yankuba Manjang, Executive Secretary of PAG, said the overarching objective of the PAG’s non-partisan citizen observation effort for the 2021 voter registration, called election watch project 2021, is to enhance the credibility of the registration process, detect and deter electoral fraud and other problems along the way, and proffer recommendations to improve future exercise. “The election watch project 2021 is being implemented in partnership with National Democratic Institute (NDI) with funding from the National Endowment for Development (NED)”.
He stated that the PAG report provides comprehensive information on reports from all PAG observers during the three phases of the observation period. During the voter registration observation, PAG’s 53 observers submitted 472 reports reflecting their observations at 287 unique registration centers due to the small number of registration centers in some constituencies, some observers reported from the same center on multiple days.
“PAG election watch project seeks to facilitate a well coordinated and organized mechanism of The Gambia. PAG seeks to increase citizen’s participation in electoral processes, thereby promoting a transparent and accountable democratic system in The Gambia”.
While urging political parties and the inter-party Committee (IPC) to monitor and engage in the IEC voter register display and the appeal process and encourage party supporters to stop spreading false information, hate speech, and violent action.
Executive secretary Manjang stated that the IPC should consider measures to monitor and enforce its code of conduct for political parties to minimize incidents of hate speech and other forms of political intolerance.
He concluded by calling on all to safeguard their voter cards ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Also speaking, Sambujang Njie, Chief Electoral Officer of IEC, commended the police for their hard work during the general voter registration period.
“The police officers, who participated in the process, have done a great job. They were present at the various centers during the whole registration process and they reported to work on time,” he said.