PROUD TO HOST THE AU SUMMIT, WHAT ABOUT THE REGISTRATION OF VOTERS?
The vote is what shows that the citizenship of a Gambian counts. All votes must be counted in an election. Each vote counts. It is the vote alone which makes every Gambian equal. No matter whether one occupies the post of a President or messenger one has only one vote. Any Gambian who is qualified to get a voter’s card but fails to do so must be seen as an animal occupying space without a homeland. The only person who has a say on how the country is governed and could add his or her voice to shape things is one with a voter’s card. The voter’s card is a citizen’s power. Sell it and you become a slave. Give it away and you surrender your right to demand for accountability. Entrust it to your best choice and you continue to retain the right to demand for accountability.
Five years is about to elapse. Section 63 of the Constitution states that: “the term of office of an elected president shall, subject to section 3 and subsection 6, be for a term of five years.“
No body could stay in office for five years without rendering account to the people. The National Council for Civic Education should have been having radio and television programmes free of charge to educate the citizenry to know their powers and the functions of the Public trustees like the President. However, they are allocated a budget that is sufficient mainly to pay for salaries but not to launch a significant civic education programme.
2011/2012 is election year. It should be preceded by registration of voters. However, no civic education has started on who is qualified to be registered as a voter and how the exercise is to be conducted. A date is yet to be set for the exercise.
All Gambians should begin to ask for the reasons for the silence. Foroyaa will contact the IEC to find out why nothing has been said about the registration of voters.
The IEC should not have problems with funds since it is the National Assembly that should allocate the funds based on request. Section 44 of the Constitution states that “The Independent Electoral Commission shall submit its annual estimates of expenditure to the president for presentation to the National Assembly in accordance with this constitution. The president shall cause the estimates to be placed before the National Assembly without amendment, but may attach to them his or her own comments and observations.
Nothing is more important than elections. A government which is proud to host an AU summit should not lack the funds to finance its own election.