The public is still waiting for the decision of the IEC on the status of the mayoral candidate in URR. The question before the IEC is not a complex one. Section 17(3)(b) of the Local Government Act reads:
“A person shall not qualify to be elected or nominated as a member of a Council if he or she has been sentenced to death or imprisonment for an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or violence or has been convicted of an offence relating to or connected with elections under any enactment in force in The Gambia at the time.”
The IEC needs to decide whether the APRC candidate was convicted and sentenced to death or imprisoned for fraud, dishonesty or violence; or whether he has been convicted of an offence relating to or connected with elections?
The IEC must question why the provision made a distinction between an offence relating to or connected to elections and conviction relating to fraud, dishonesty or violence.
The distinction made is that in terms of conviction not linked to sentence to a fine or imprisonment. Once convicted for electoral offences, one is automatically barred from standing as a candidate for council elections unless one is pardoned or has sat down for at least ten years after serving one’s sentence without standing as a candidate after conviction.
On the other hand, conviction is not enough for one to be barred for standing for election. One must be sentenced to death or imprisoned if one is to be barred.
Foroyaa is keenly waiting for the final decision of the IEC on this matter. The decision it takes will have far reaching ramifications for our electoral system.