By Adama Tine
Election observers on Saturday said that the turnout of this year’s elections especially by youths was massive compared to the previous elections in the country.
Salieu Taal, President of the Gambia Bar Association, also part of a team of local observers said: “I have visited about seven polling stations in Banjul and also in the Kombo’s and so far, my impression is that it seems to be a high voter turnout,”
“It appears that voters have been coming out and queuing since 6am. I have seen both young and old people and that shows a real commitment and understanding by the Gambian people of their civic responsibility of voting.”
According to Taal, the only challenge he saw was the issue of voting by security personnel who were told to vote where they registered considering their importance on the Election Day.
“I think the problem could have been handled differently but this is a learning process for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to make sure that security is offered to vote wherever they are deployed,” he said.
He explained that Gambians must accept that now they have nurtured the democracy culture where voters would use their votes to determine the future and the elected person is expected to be the first to congratulate and maintain peace with his followers.
Taal therefore advised citizens to accept the result and give opportunity to the leader to stair the affairs in the next 5years. “We cannot tolerate any violence from anybody because democracy results are disputed through the courts system and we make our choices through voters’ cards,” Taal said.
Musa Njie, presiding officer at a Bakau polling station said: “The entire Bakau we have the highest number of voters within the three polling stations because each polling station has a voter list of 700 voters so people are still queuing and we are hopeful that the voting will be completed successfully without any challenge.”
Njie added that: “voting is part of our democratic principles and it is what speaks for us, this is what we also use to decide who is going to rule us for the next five years so therefore, we have to maintain the decorum.”