By: Kebba AF Touray
As part of their stakeholder training on the electoral process, the country’s electoral body, IEC, yesterday trained the members of the Gambia Police Force, with a view to widen their understanding on the election process.
Speaking at the opening, Commissioner Sambujang Njie, revealed that the training aims to deepen the skills and knowledge of the country’s security officers on the conduct of the various security units during the period of the election. “Your roles and responsibilities as security officers cannot be overemphasized. As a result, the IEC organized this training workshop to brief you on the modalities of the 2018 Local Government Elections”, said Commissioner Njie.
In his keynote address on behalf of the IEC Chairman, Commissioner Lamin Cham said Local Government Elections seek to select Councilors, Mayors and Chairpersons for various Municipalities and Councils across the country. “Due to the recent constitutional amendment by the National Assembly, elections for chairpersons of the six Area Councils would be done on the basis of direct election by the electorate”, he said
Commissioner Cham emphasized that election is a complex process requiring the participation of a multitude of players and a plethora of activities, of which the security plays a crucial role; that security is indispensable in the electoral process. “Without adequate security, an election cannot be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner. It is applied to ensure the safety and protection of the lives of voters, the general public, media, all the key actors in the electoral process”, noted Commissioner Cham.
He added that police officers are entrusted with the difficult role of maintaining law and order, safeguarding lives and property; that the elections would be held in all the 120 Wards, 2 Municipalities and six Area Councils. He cited that the outcome of free and fair elections expresses the will of the people and the basis for democratic governance and as such, the Commission is committed to promoting and conducting free and fair elections based on democratic principles and good practices. He reiterated the Commission’s solid request to fully collaborate with all stakeholders in the electoral process because it believes to stand by the mantra “ELECTION IS THE BUSINESS OF ALL”
“I implore on you to fully participate in the deliberations because you need a good understanding of the process, as you are expected to share the knowledge gained with your colleagues who do not have the opportunity of such training. The Commission would like to strengthen such efforts in delivering yet another successful election to the Gambian electorate”, said Commissioner Cham. He finally expressed the Commission’s profound gratitude to the IGP and his high Command for allowing the security officials to participate in this very important national endeavor. The training ends today with the training of media houses and CSOs.