Parties Express Disappointment on Abysmal Voter Turnout
By Yankuba Jallow / Moro ML Minteh
Gambians on Saturday May 12th 2018, went to the polls to elect Mayors and Chairpersons who will man the affairs of their various Municipalities and Regions.
At various voting centres visited by this reporter, people voted without waiting for each other because the centres were not busy. People went on their daily businesses as if nothing significant was happening in the country.
In his statement, the APRC candidate for the Kanifing Municipality, Ousman Rambo Jatta, said the polling station at the Dippa Kunda Mosque saw the IEC using a supplementary voters list that was not in possession of party agents other than Returning Officers; that the people whose names were not part of the list, were allowed to vote therein; that if there was any supplementary voters list, it should be given to all party agents and referred to the process as one which lacked transparency and fair play on the side of contesting parties.
Seedy Njie, the spokesperson for the APRC, voiced similar remarks; that IEC is tasked to handle elections in the country and they should be straightforward in order to avoid causing confusion in the country.
Yerro Jallow, the GDC party supervisor in the Dippa Kunda Area, blamed the Independent Electoral Commission for causing their party agents to report at polling centers on time; that the Party holds the IEC responsible for failing to turnout early to start voting on time by not given them confirmation letters to present their Party agents; that the polls should not have started in the absence of their agents. “There was no fair play on our side and we are not happy with the process,” he said.
On the Election Day, security was intensified and there were no major incidents reported. Polls were opened at 8am and party agents, security and IEC officials did the verification processes of all voting materials at hand before voting began. Despite the low turnout in the entire country, voting continued until at 5pm, when counting began on the spot.
After the counting and the Official announcement of results, the United Democratic Party won the Regional Chairperson seats for Brikima, Mansakonko, Janjanbureh (South), Basse, Kerewan and the Municipalities of Kanifing and Banjul City Council. Out of the eight administrative regions and municipalities in the country, the United Democratic Party (UDP) pulled seven, including the two municipalities of Banjul and Kanifing, despite the low voter turnout.
After the votes were counted, the UDP polled 121,746 votes, GDC 47,492 votes, APRC 42,625 votes, PDOIS 10,103 votes and the NRP 7,639 votes. The combination of Independent Candidates polled 27,901 votes.