By Oumie Mendy
The West Africa Network For Peacebuilding Gambia together with its regional office in partnership with the National Elections Response Group (NERG) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on Monday organised one-day dialogue on election security to facilitate a reflection and sharing of lessons and to identify best practices to electoral security.
WANEP-The Gambia is a legally registered not-for-profit peace-building organization in the Gambia, to actively promote a culture of peace for conflict prevention.
The one-day dialogue recognised that the Gambia faces numerous security challenges that continues to undermine efforts toward stability.
Salama Njie, WANEP national network coordinator the Gambia, said over the past years, the country’s political system has been greatly characterized by heightened political tensions and bickering which led to divisions.
She added the causes of these tensions and conflicts are multifaceted in nature, and could be linked to weak political structures, politicized state institutions, and the absence of dialogue spaces and infrastructure for cultivating dialogue and national reconciliation.
“Politically motivated violence has been a recurring feature of elections in The Gambia. Politicians, opinion leaders and other interest groups on social media continue to use rhetoric and ethnic sentiments that deepen divisiveness and tensions in the country,” she said.
Joseph Colley, the vice chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, said elections in The Gambia have changed and might not be the same again.
He said the electoral commission will continue to do its best to make sure elections are conducted free and fair.
“We are not saying that we are perfect but looking at our system we are doing well. We have seen recently some other countries coming to the Gambia for election process tour,” he noted.