The little error realized and rectified by the Independent Electoral Commission after the December 2016 presidential election almost set the country ablaze. It was the excuse the former president used to change his mind about conceding defeat. It became so intense that foreign troops had to march into the country for the new president to take office. Well, the rest is history.
It would have been thought therefore that going forward, the Independent Electoral Commission will be extremely careful when announcing election results knowing that any slight error can be used by people to spread conspiracy theories which can in turn lead to civil strife. When the people have even a remote opportunity to insinuate that there was foul play, they may get enraged and that is dangerous.
In the just concluded council Elections, the revision of results saw the Gambia Democratic Congress moving from the twenty-three seats earlier announced to twenty-five seats. It is better to delay the announcement and crosscheck everything carefully (two times if need be) than risk making an error which will just go to fuel the flames of conspiracy theorists. This has the potential to cause great harm and destabilize the country.
The IEC should henceforth ensure that whatever results they announced are accurate and are not liable to change. It is important for the electorate and political parties to have full confidence in them (the Commission) as that is what will make the elections credible in their eyes. If that is lost, the “I” for Independent in their appellation might as well be dropped.