A press release from the Civil Society Coalition (CSO) on Elections – The Gambia has indicated that it is in full preparation for the forthcoming Presidential elections slated for 1st December, 2016.
According to the release, the Coalition coordinated by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) – The Gambia, notes with significance that its participation in the elections indicates a growing realization and involvement of Gambians in the democratization process of our country. Since its creation in 2006, the CSO Coalition on Elections – The Gambia has observed and monitored the electoral cycles of 2006 – 2008 and 2011 – 2013; providing Gambians the unique opportunity to directly participate in the observation of elections in a more organized and robust manner.
The release reveals that the CSO Coalition on Elections with funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will conduct simultaneous trainings for over 100 election observers, monitors and data entry clerks from all over the country.
All the trained observers shall swear to the CSO Coalition on Elections’ Election Observers Pledge, which stipulates that an observer shall conduct observation according to accepted rules, guidelines and principles. These include being impartial by not supporting or opposing any candidate or party, and reporting based on what one sees by oneself and not what one hears or is told. The Pledge also calls on observers to uphold the principles of truth in their observation and to refrain from doing anything that will disrupt the voting process or the work of the polling officials, but to be cooperative at all times. Finally, the Pledge requires that observers do not speak to the press or publicly express their views on the elections in anyway. Observers shall respect at all times the requirements of their accreditation from IEC and shall display openly the accreditation badge.
The release also notes that, the CSO Coalition on Elections would also for the first time man an ‘Election Situation Room’ where real time analysis would be made on the elections. The Situation Room will provide timely and analyzed information to critical stakeholders including the Inter Party Committee, the IEC and security agencies for rapid response.
The CSO Coalition on Elections calls on Gambians to come out massively to vote peacefully in the elections as they determine the future and destiny of their country. It points out that elections are one of the major indicators of democracy and a peaceful way of identifying the managers of the resources and affairs of society and should be conducted in peace and calm; that all Gambians of 18 years and above with valid voter’s card have a right to vote.