Civil Society Coalition On Elections preliminary statement on general voter registration showed that copies of attestation forms were found in possession of a particular political party agent
However, the statement added that the matter which occurred in Sinchu Alhagie was later reported to IEC Head Office which communicated to the agent’s party and the said agent was replaced the following day.
“At Sinchu Alhagie, four copies of photocopied Attestation Forms were found in possession of a particular party agent, the matter was reported to IEC Head Office, who communicated to the party and the agent was said to be replaced the following day by another agent,” the CSO report stated.
The Coalition said that unlike the first week, it has observed that significant improvements have been made leading to better efficiency which has reduced the delays encountered in the printing of voter cards.
The statement added that general climate of calm and peace prevails across most voter registration centres.
Other observations made by the CSO Coalition on the process include the following:
•challenges still remain with the issuance of attestation, generating accusations and counter accusations and even violence in some instances in certain communities;
• reports of non-Gambians registering leading to confrontation between perceived supporters of a political party and the security forces in Sare Ngai in Upper River Region where IEC officials are reported to have been harassed and intimidated by the said supporters and the situation led to suspension of registration for about half an hour;
• the security officers who tried to stop non-Gambians from registering were asked to report at the Immigration and Police Headquarters in Banjul for investigation and they fear that they could be penalized for just stopping non-Gambians whose records show that they are regular payers of alien fees;
• instances of people who appeared as minors being permitted to register in the In URR;
• an Alkalo of a particular village in CRR is reported to have given his stamp to an individual perceived to be a supporter of a political party attesting people in the community; and
• recently, registration was disrupted in Manduar, Kombo Central, West Coast Region as tensions flared over arguments on who has authority to issue attestation
The CSO Coalition on Elections-The Gambia spearheaded and coordinated by WANEP-The Gambia is a homegrown national platform established in 2006 to facilitate and enhance CSOs’ participation in elections and electioneering, democracy and good governance. With a membership of 30 Civil Society Organizations, the Coalition continues to participate and influence public policy through election observation and conflict monitoring. A team of 53 observers have been deployed in all the seven administrative regions to observe the general voter registration process. In this preliminary statement, the Coalition offers a summary of its 2nd key observations from the voter registration process.