16 March 2011

Gambia News:Gambia's opposition leader doubts credibility of electoral body

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Gambia's main opposition party, the United Democracy Party (UDP), has raised doubts over the credibility of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), because its Chairman was appointed by the President Yahya Jammeh.

The Campaign Manager of UDP, Single Nyassi, told PANA in an interview here Tuesday that the party was waiting to see what would happen during the registration of voters.

“The UDP is waiting to see the way and manner the general voter registration will be conducted by the IEC,” Nyassi said, adding that the party had asked the IEC to conduct the general registration of voters as soon as possible in order to fast-track and give opportunity to all eligible persons to have access to voters' cards before the elections.

“We are also anticipating that IEC will conduct massive sensitization campaigns on Gambians on the forthcoming elections. The IEC should sensitize Gambians as citizens have the right to know their rights,” he said.

“UDP is preparing to do all it can to make sure that Gambians who are entitled to vote are registered and also vote during elections. Cross-border registration will not be accepted and tolerated by the UDP, ” he stressed.

Mr. Nyassi said he was also baffled by recent media reports that one opposition party supporter was arrested and detained for displaying the flag of his party, the Gambia Moral Congress in his compound in the Upper River Region (URR).

“UDP has condemned the act as it is unlawful and we are also calling on IEC to immediately come up with a strong press statement condemning the action of the police," he said, accusing the Governor of URR, Omar Khan, of masterminding the arrest and subsequent detention of opposition leader, Barrister Mai Fatty’s father.

He said IEC, as an independent and transparent body, should not keep silent when such “unscrupulous actions” are being taken to violate the constitutional rights of Gambians.

“If the IEC fails to take any step on this unlawful act by the police, then UDP will have no option but to take IEC to task and question its independence and credibility," he said.  

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