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IEC Intends to Create Diaspora Constituencies If…

By Fatou Dahaba
The Independent Electoral Commission in an interface with the National Assembly joint committees of Human Rights, and Constitutional Matters and the Local Government, Ombudsman and IEC, reveal the intention of the IEC to create four diaspora Constituencies.
The Vice Chair Joseph Colley who was with the Chairman Njai and the Communications officer , said if all the obstacles are overcome, the four constituencies shall be; Africa, Europe, America and Asian constituency. However others are advocating for more constituencies especially those in Europe where more Gambians live than any part of the world.
The commission’s vice chairman, Colley observed that the process of allowing Gambians in the diaspora to register and vote in December will be inconsistent with the interpretation and application of sections 88 and 39 of the 1997 Constitution.
He explained that the diaspora involvement would mean these sections will have to be amended because there is no provision for a diaspora constituency in the current laws.
According to section 39 (1) every Gambian, being eighteen years old and of sound mind, shall have the right to vote in elections of a President or National Assembly Member and shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in a National Assembly constituency for that purpose.
Section 88 also stated that the National Assembly shall comprise 48 members elected from the constituencies demarcated by the commission and five nominated members.
These sections, according to Vice Chair Colley, must be amended if a new constituency or constituencies are to be introduced for the diaspora.
Pa Makan Khan the newly appointed Director of Training, Communications and Public Affairs at the IEC said If such plans are advanced before the registration commences on 29th May 2021 the Diaspora will be able to register in the IEC’s upcoming voters registration exercise together with Gambians at home.
The two sides’ discussion was focused on the legal modalities of the much-anticipated and agitated diaspora voting.

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