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Vote Buying, Use of Government Vehicles Disfigured Presidential 2021 Elections

By Ndella Jeng

The Election Watch Committee ( EWC) has revealed findings on the 2021 Presidential Elections of the Gambia. It was noted that there were use of government vehicles and vote buying which creates an unlevelled paly field.

The EWC deployed 53 observers to the constituency level collation centres and seven observers to regional level collation to observe these processes However, the EWC also noted violation of campaign code of ethics including the use of government resources (such as government vehicles) and vote buying. Use of state resources and vote buying create an unleveled playing field between candidates and dilute the promise that political campaigns should be contested based on candidates Programs.

On Election day, the EWC release a mid-day update on the set up and opening process. EWC observers noted that polling Station mostly opened on time, had all essential materials, and party agents as well as security forces were present.

However, the mid-day statement mentions a relatively high number of polling streams not accessible to people with disabilities. “This preliminary statement focuses on the voting, closing, and counting processes. It also reflects reports from EWC observers deployed to observe the results collation process conducted at collation centers located in each region.

The EWC is a partnership of 3 organisations and network members with different expertise and background collaborating to observe the 2021 Presidential Elections in the Gambia.
The EWC includes the Peace Ambassadors, The Gambia (PAG), ACTIVSTA and the National Youth Parliament (NYP). This Committee is the decision making body on all matters relating to the 2021 Elections watch project; PAG serves as the secretary of the committee.

Speaking during a press conference held over the weekend, Ida Jatta member of the EWC highlighted that the preliminary statement is based on reports that the Election Watch Committee (EWC) has received from all 300 stationary observers deployed to polling streams proportionally nationwide as of noon on December 5, 2021.
Madam Jatta added that the statement also covers reports received from 60 collation observers deployed at constituency and regional collation centres.
“On December 4, the EWC deployed 460 trained and accredited observers. This includes 160 mobile observers and 300 polling Station observers have been systematically deployed based on a proportional distribution by constituency” he stated

She said this means that the proportion of polling streams observed by the EWC in each constituency and region closely matches the overall percentage of polling streams in each constituency and region.

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