By Adama Tine
The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament in Abuja, Sidi Muhammed Tunis, while on a state visit to The Gambia has called for peace and stability ahead of the country’s presidential elections scheduled for 4 December 2021.
Speaking at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Tunis said the purpose of his visit was to observe on a series of issues as the country’s elections draw nearer, adding that they have been looking at the preparedness of the country in the electoral processes.
“I am appealing to the people of the Gambia to know that there is only one Gambia and they must do everything possible to ensure that that one Gambia is peaceful,” he said, adding: “We may have our differences but we must know that without peace we would not talk about elections.”
He urged citizens’ especially political leaders to ensure that they guard their words and avoid spreading messages that will create hatred and bring problems to the country.
“Let political leaders preach the message of peace and stability,” he also said, noting that the country belongs to the Gambian people. “Elections come and go but the country remains,” he said.
He added that they have engaged key stakeholders including the speaker of the National Assembly, the Chief Justice, ECOMIG forces in the country, the IEC, CSOs, NGOs and political parties, among others to help promote the message of peace.
Mr Tunis highlighted that ECOWAS’s primary responsibility is to ensure that voices of African citizens are heard.
“We want to ensure citizens are prepared and ready to vote peacefully,” he said.
“I am very happy with the support that the IEC is getting from the government,” he said.
“The IEC has assured us of a peaceful election. Our vision is to see a free, fair and transparent election,” he said further.
He said one of the issues brought to his attention by stakeholders was access to the state media by political parties. He added that politicians were complaining that the public broadcaster was not covering their activities.