By Buba Gagigo
The Independent Electoral Commission [IEC] Director of Training and Communications has considered the Mayor of Banjul fit to attest people to acquire voters’ cards by default.
“The Alkalo who is head of the village and Chief who is the head of the district will attest people who don’t have other documents, which include the identity cards or Gambian passport or a birth certificate.
“It happens that being the capital city of the Gambia, [it] doesn’t have an Alkalo or a Seyfo. Then we will say by default, the office of the Mayor is in charge and will take the lead and assume the responsibility. We can say by default the mayor can assume those roles as far as they are silent in the laws and for the sake of natural justice, people who may be born in Banjul and qualified to be registered must not be disenfranchised and it’s their right to be registered,” Pa Makan Khan in a phone interview said on Kerr Fatou’s Saturday show – ‘The Brunch’ on 5th June, 2021.
However, the Mayor of Banjul Rohey Malick Lowe was widely criticized by some people for issuing attestation to people in the capital for them to acquire voters’ cards.
One of those opposed to Mayor Lowe’s move is Seedy Njie, the Deputy Spokesperson of the National People’s Party (NPP).
“You cannot be a Captain and referee at the same time. A football player going to a football match, he is the captain of the team and at the same time the referee. That is nonsense,” Njie told Kerr Fatou on the same platform on 5th June, 2021.
The NPP deputy spokesperson further argued that the issuing of attestation by an elected person is going to be biased.
“IEC said they are using good judgment. A good judgment here is for somebody to acquire a voter’s card. The lawmakers at that time said they cannot vest that right to elected members because the person is going to be biased and the person is going to be political. That’s what the lawmakers thought at the time because they knew the Mayor of Banjul was elected,” he said.
Seedy, the last Information Minister of Yahya Jammeh government finally said it is not a good judgment to empower an elected official to attest people from different political parties to acquire a voter’s card to choose their representatives.