By Alagie Manneh
Following months of unsuccessful attempts to get registered by the IEC, the People’s Alliance Party (PAP), led by Ebrima Tabora Manneh, son of former Lower Niumi chief, will now have its flag bearer contest the December election as an independent. The party has been fighting to get registered after the IEC ordered them to instead use the new voter cards attestation as opposed to the old ones they used.
But speaking at a press conference yesterday the party leader, Manneh said he and his party suspected foul play in its efforts to get registered.
He disclosed that it is not the entire IEC that is involved in frustrating PAP’s registration process but if the commission doesn’t do its work, they would have to go to court to challenge them.
Mr Manneh added that there are other forces attempting to frustrate his party’s registration process.
“I don’t want to speculate, but there are some politicians involved too and I think in due course, it will come out,” he said when asked to name names.
Asked to elaborate on the party’s troubles, Manneh said: “When we engaged the IEC in April, we were advised to proceed after being told about the requirements and we started the process. We completed and collected the required 10,000 voter attestations only to be told by the IEC that the cards are not valid because a general registration had started in May replacing old cards. We were never notified that we should wait until the new registration starts. But did the IEC ever notify Gambians that old voter cards that used to exist were null and void? Was there a precedent, or was this the first of a kind? There was a lot of suspicion and when we wrote to them requesting the requirements for an independent candidate, they never replied to us.”
Mr Manneh said these and other issues have forced him and his followers to change their plans, running as independent candidate.