By Mamour M Mbenga
Young people within the Greater Banjul Area have described the D100 payment being demanded by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the current supplementary registration exercise for the replacement of a lost or defaced Voter’s Card as depriving some of the citizens the right to vote.
Baboucarr Cham, alias Bob, a resident of London Corner in Serekunda, told this reporter that the D100 fee is excluding all those who need to replace their card but cannot afford the amount. He said this is unfair to these Gambians as it disenfranchises them.
“When I heard the news in town that any Gambian who lost his or her voter’s card should pay D100 for renewal came as a surprise to me. I’m part of those who lost their voter’s card,” he revealed.
The 23 year old explained that since he completed high school with good grades, he has been searching for a better job or scholarship to further his education but without success.
Musa Ceesay, another young man, reiterated the same concerns regarding the prohibitive fees for the replacement of a lost voter’s card.
“Since I acquired my voter’s card, I have been voting in all the elections. It is now that I have lost the card and it is being made difficult for me to acquire another one because of the D100 fee,” he disclosed.
He said the IEC should be interested in getting more young people to register and acquire voters’ cards rather than discouraging them with the introduction of this unaffordable fee for many young people.
“The IEC may think that everybody can afford this D100 but let me tell them that some of stay for a whole month without holding this sum,” he said.
Alieu Mbye, another young resident of Serrekunda, also acknowledged that most of them cannot afford the amount being charged for replacement.
“It is not through recklessness that people lose their voters cards. Some may lose it through theft, fire, and other unavoidable situations,” said Mr. Mbye, adding “This is the reason why the IEC should remove the fee for replacement so as to give every eligible citizen the chance to register and vote in the forthcoming presidential election.”