By MUHAMMED S. BAH
The independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairman on Thursday 9 February 2017 officially announced the schedule for the upcoming National Assembly election which is slated to take place on Thursday 6 April 2017.
This announcement by the IEC Chairman Alieu Momar Njai was done through a press conference at the Election house on Bertil Harding Highway.
This Press conference was attended by both local and international press, representatives from Diplomatic Missions, political party representatives, members of civil society organisations and IEC staff and commission members.
In his deliberation at the press conference the IEC Chairman said, “The IEC in exercise of its mandate under section 40 of the Elections Act, wishes to inform the general public that the National Assembly Elections of the republic of the Gambia shall take place on Thursday 6 April 2017.”
He further stated that the Nomination of candidates will take place from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 March 2017 between 8am to 4pm at the IEC regional offices in Banjul, Kanifing, Brikama, Mansakonko, Kerewan, Janjangbureh and Basse.
He also stated that electoral campaign will commence on the 15th March and end on 4th April 2017.
The IEC Chairman also disclosed the Returning officers for various Administrative areas as follows: Isatou Jallow Ndure- Banjul, Lamin Cham- Kanifing, Malleh Sallah, Brikama, Essa Baldeh, Kerewan, Sulayman Joof MansaKonko, Anthony Robert Secka- Jangjangbureh and Pa Makan Khan Basse Administrative area.
The IEC Chairman Mr. Njai also disclosed that his institution will engage all sorts of media including the GSM service providers for a thorough voter education and voter sensitisation campaign.
He said the voter sensitisation campaign will include promotion of mass participation and high voter turnout, building confidence and trust in the electoral process and in the IEC and also promoting attitudes and behaviour that will make elections peaceful and free from cheating among many other objectives.
The IEC chairman further concluded in underscoring the requirements for the position of member of the National Assembly which are as follows:
- A candidates shall be a citizen
- A candidate shall have attained the age of twenty one years
- A candidate is able to speak the English language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him or her to take part in the proceedings of the National Assembly
- A candidate has been ordinarily resident in the constituency for a period of at least one year prior to nomination day
- A candidate shall be nominated by not less than three hundred voters whose names appear in the register of voters for the constituency for which he or she seeks to be elected
- Sworn declaration of assets
- Tax clearance certificate
- Payment of deposit of fifty Thousand Dalasi (D50,000)
- Representative symbol, colour and photographs of a candidate
- A person who is qualified to be registered as a voter under the constitution and the Elections Act may contest as an independent candidate
- A political party/candidate shall abide by the code of election campaign ethics which the commission may from time to time prepare
The IEC Chairman further assured a vigorous sensitisation with regards to the new demarcation of constituencies made for people affected to understand them.