Calls for free and fair election
The ECOWAS Parliamentary Chairmen on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism, Sen. Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr., continues his assessment visit to The Gambia ahead of that country’s pending December 2021 general elections.
Snowe was designated by the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon. Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis to visit The Gambia to assess the political and security situations as well as the country’s preparedness leading to the process.
Snowe, at head of a high-level ECOWAS Parliament Delegation, met, on Wednesday 30th June, with the Chairman and Members of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia to receive updates on the processes leading to the upcoming Presidential and Legislative elections.
Accompanied by the Secretary-General of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. John Azumah (Ghana), Sen. Snowe, in his meeting with the electoral body expressed confidence that the commission will deliver a free, fair, and transparent election and admonished the Commissioners to always maintain their neutrality.
He emphasized the need to build public confidence in the electoral process, naming media engagement to include working with civil society, transparency in all of its activities including its budget and expenditure, training of election staff, adequate funding, security, and safety of election materials, as well as adherence to COVID-19 protocols as areas that should be satisfactorily addressed.
Snowe affirmed that the ECOWAS Parliament’s goal is to offer support to the people of The Gambia and reiterated Parliament’s neutrality, its respect for a constitutionally legal process, and its preparedness to provide technical support where needed.
He stressed that The Gambia is cardinal to the stability of the sub-region and the Parliament, with its rich history of election monitoring, will do all in its authority to secure a free, fair, and credible election in The Gambia.
The ECOWAS head of delegation disclosed that the ECOWAS Parliament will remain continuously engaged with the Commission and call on all stakeholders to be law-abiding as the process unfolds.
For his part, the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Mr. Alieu Momarr Njai, thanked the ECOWAS Parliament Delegation for the courtesy visit and assured them of the Commission’s commitment and preparedness to deliver a credible election, adding that election is an integral part of the democratic process.
He recalled conflicts within the sub-region that emanated from election disputes and voiced his optimism that The Gambia will not thread a similar path. The Gambia is expected to hold presidential elections in December 2021 and is currently conducting voter registration that will lead to the path to a smooth democratic transition.