Sunday, July 21, 2019

Is It Fair To Deprive A Person To Stand In Mayoral Elections Because He/She Lacks A Voter’s Card?



Section 17 does indicate that a Mayoral candidate should be a registered voter. The fact of the matter is that a person resident outside of the Gambia cannot be blamed for not being a registered voter. Section 39 of the Constitution states:

“(1) Every citizen of The Gambia being of eighteen years or older and of sound mind shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in a National Assembly constituency for that purpose.

(2) Every citizen of The Gambia who is a registered voter shall be entitled to vote in a referendum held in accordance with this Constitution or any other law.

(3) Every citizen of The Gambia being of the age of eighteen years or older and of sound mind shall be entitled, in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter and any Act of the National Assembly providing for such elections, to vote in elections for local government authorities and traditional rulers in the area in which he or she is ordinarily resident.”

This means that every Gambian resident at home or abroad has the right to be registered as a voter and to vote. Section 141 of the Elections Act adds:

“The Commission may make rules for Gambians in any foreign country to vote in a Presidential election.”

Hence there is no excuse for not registering Gambians abroad. The reason why registration has not been taking place is because of the claim of not having adequate resources. The question therefore arises: Should a person be deprived of a right to stand for elections because of the negligence of the state to provide the resources the IEC needs to register Gambians abroad? We will leave the reader to answer the question.

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