By Aisha Tamba
Representatives of political parties have said they are all committed to ensure an election free from violence as the December polls draw nearer.
The party reps were at a daylong training on the Inter-Party Committee Code of Conduct that compels party leaders to uphold the principle of peaceful dialogue and respecting voter rights among others.
The training was organised by the National Democratic Institute, NDI, through an existing MoU with the IPC.
The memorandum of understanding commits NDI to facilitate inter-party dialogues on critical constitutional and electoral reforms as well as strengthening the knowledge and skills of political parties to engage in peaceful and issue-based campaigns ahead of the presidential and parliamentary polls in December 2021 and April 2022, respectively.
The training set out good practices on monitoring; assisting in developing monitoring and reporting tools and exploring innovative activities to fact finding for the purpose of enforcing the Code.
It also reinforced the IPC’s commitment to its MoU and Code of Conduct to strengthen the capacity of its members to monitor the implementation of the MoU and Code of Conduct, adopt and implement institutional frameworks that foster sustainable practices in monitoring and the development of checklists and other monitoring tools among others.
Addressing the meeting, Musa Amul Nyassi, the IPC co-chair said the training is very crucial and could not have come at a better time. “The IPC remains committed to building its members’ capacities and the full implementation of its code of conduct,” Nyassi said.
He said the committee is working on finalizing the women’s branch of the IPC as all political parties have submitted their representatives. “I can assure you that by the first Friday of October, we will be in a position to launch it,” he said.
Ray Esebagbon, the NDI resident director reaffirmed the NDI’s commitment to continue partnering with the IPC as dictated by the MoU.
“We have jointly created a work plan of activities to support the IPC to strengthen its preparation for the presidential and National Assembly elections,” he said.
The training, he added, is part of the interventions the NDI intends to embark on to support the IPC.
“Apart from the code of conduct embedded in the MoU, we also have an election campaign ethics designed by the IEC which is a substantial instrument in the Electoral Act which has a number of provisions in terms of what the political parties should do,” he said.
Ms. Aissata De, UNDP resident representative, expressed delight over the training, saying the IPC should take advantage of training.
“UNDP is indeed very appreciative of the growing partnership between the NDI and IPC which is aimed at promoting democracy and sustaining peace in The Gambia,” she said.