‘I am the IEC chairman for the next 7 years’
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
has emphasised that he is still the chairman of the Commission and will remain
so for the next seven years.
Alhagie Mustapha Carayol was reacting to what he described as ‘speculations’ from some disgruntled Gambians in local newspapers, mainly from the opposition, who he said are claiming that his tenure in office as the IEC chairman has elapsed. Showing a letter of appointment from the Office of the President dated 5th April, 2011, to this reporter yesterday in his office in Kanifing, Carayol said the appointment has given him the mandate to lead the Commission from now till 2018.
Carayol mentioned Halifa Sallah and Mai Fatty, saying these people have even tabled their claims before the African Union and the Commonwealth observers who are currently in the country to observe tomorrow’s National Assembly election. He said both the AU and the Commonwealth observers later raised the issue with him and he answered them accurately. “Please let them not mislead the Gambian people,” he added.
Tomorrow’s N/A election
Dilating on tomorrow’s National Assembly election, Chairman Carayol said where there is no transparent election there can never be good governance and by extension, that country might end up having a dictatorial leadership.“In any election where there is a massive voter turnout, that election will always be successful,” he added.
The IEC chairman disclosed that for the first time in the history of The Gambia, all the counting of votes will be conducted at the polling stations, while reminding the electorate that voting will start by 7am and end by 6pm.He said out of 1302 polling stations, only 510 polling stations will be used in this election; with 23 polling stations in two constituencies in the Banjul administrative area, 129 polling stations in three constituencies in the Kanifing administrative area and 104 polling stations in three constituencies in the Brikama administrative area.
In the Kerewan administrative area, Chairman Carayol said there will be 70 polling stations in three constituencies, 47 polling stations in three constituencies in the Mansakonko administrative area while Janjangbureh and Basse administrative areas have 106 polling stations in eight constituencies and 31 polling stations in one constituency respectively.
Commenting on the security during the election date, the IEC boss disclosed that there will be over 1000 police personnel deployed to all polling stations to ensure a peaceful election. He added that his office has already held discussions with the Inspector General of Police on that issue.
He hailed Gambians for the sense of maturity they have been showing during elections, noting that all elections held in the country from 1996 to date have been free and fair. While emphasising the need for both candidates and their electorate to show maximum maturity and accept defeat in the election, Carayol observed that democracy is a process that a country cannot just achieve in a day.
Author: Amadou Jallow