By Adama Tine
Yankuba Manjang, executive secretary of Peace Ambassadors -The Gambia (PAG) on Friday called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to come up with concrete measures to ensure effective and respectable distribution of voters’ cards of registrants that were not given their cards on the spot during the registration process.
Mr Manjang made the remarks during PAG’s monthly stakeholders’ dialogue held at Metzy hotel.
During the last phase of the registration observation, several observers reported that malfunctions or a shortage of supplies for the card printers resulted in applicants having to go back later or go to other centers to collect their registration cards. Manjang said those challenges seemed to have been most prevalent in the Basse, Janjanbureh and Kerewan administrative areas.
Meanwhile, he said that it is not clear to PAG whether some registrants have not received their voters cards yet. But added: “Three hundred and seventy-five of the 472 reports indicated that all successful registrants were issued their voters cards before leaving the registration centers.”
He further said that PAG’s report has indicated that registration officials followed most registration process, noting that 469 of the 472 reports showed that all or many registrants were asked to present a valid identification document such as national identification card, birth certificate, Gambian passport and attestation before being registered.
“Four hundred and fifty-two of the 472 reports showed that no applicant who presented a valid national identification document was denied registration.
“Four hundred and sixty-one of the 472 reports showed that applicants were asked to affix their thumbprint on registration forms to satisfy that their information was correct before it was sent to the operator.
“Four hundred and sixty-four of the 472 observer reports showed that the operator input the data of all applicants into the laptops and their photos taken,” he went on.
Mr. Manjang said observers also noted that some procedures were applied inconsistently across registration centers. He cited that 294 of the 472 reports reflect that IEC officials did not always ask registrants whether they had registered somewhere else.
“Fifty-one of the 472 reports have shown that if the applicant was found ineligible, registration officials did not fill out the rejection form and the rejected applicant was not served a copy. Several observers noted that registration officials turned away minors without filling out registration forms, he also said.
Manjang said PAG has observed that a good number of Gambians used the attestation to register. Three hundred and eighty-five of the 472 reports indicated that some or many applicants utilized an attestation form as identification and 11 of the 472 reports indicated that all applicants used this method to register.