By Adama Tine
The Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe on Tuesday challenged the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) not to receive any funding from elsewhere other than from central government.
Speaking during discussions of the 2021 Election Bill, Mayor Lowe called on the government to fully fund the IEC for the upcoming presidential elections because that money belongs to Gambian taxpayers, apart from the money contributed by international entities like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She however said they should not accept money from any other private entity as that could encourage bias.
“Diaspora voting should be given priority considering their involvement, love, diverse support, commitment and dedication to the country. I give my full support to its recognition and approval”, she noted.
Mayor Lowe said attestation should be given to the alkalolu but not the chiefs, noting that a chief cannot know every person in his/her region but an alkalo can manage any situation should there be any irregularity without it getting to a higher stage.
According to her, lawmakers should consider and welcome a situation where the IEC vice chairperson should announce election results in case the chairman has difficulties doing so. She further suggested that during election period, priority be given to journalists and persons on duties such as doctors and/or others that wear uniform but most precisely to journalists because they act as police on Election Day.
Mayor Lowe also advocated for the involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) during elections, noting that their involvement is key and needed. She described CSOs as most important actors in elections for their independence and support.