By: Bamba Sering Mass, UK
For instance there was serious serial bungling by the IEC in December 2016 in tallying Presidential election results where there were errors in the results from the Basse Region which were made known after the declaration of results thus swelling the total number of votes for Adama Barrow and when it became known that the errors were not from the electorates but the IEC, the then Governor Omar Sampo Ceesay with some APRC Stalwarts converged around Yahya Jammeh with files claiming irregularities calling for the total annulment of the entire elections.
Thus Jammeh and APRC as a result rejected the results and using their majority in the national Assembly tried a state of emergency which nearly plunged the country into a serious crisis to near possible civil war. Seedy Njie was later made information Minister and he was parading everywhere to deny then President elect Adama Barrow from being sworn in. It led to an impasse and only Allah and intervention of Gambia’s partners saved the country when Barrow was taken out of the country only to be sworn in Senegal. That is why seeing those same faces within NPP sounds worrying.
As if that was not enough in the local government elections the same IEC issued again two contradictory results leading to UDP and GDC going to court over the Kuntaur area Council chairmanship seat. These two serious issues alone should raise eyebrows from the people but everyone allowed it to pass and no one called IEC to order.
This year again we saw the IEC issued a statement that is so serious when they alleged that over 3000 people have registered multiple times in this 2021 voter registration exercise. They didn’t give Gambians any names nor what they did to sort that out only to come out after a while contradicting themselves by saying it was an error on their part.
What is IEC up to? Are Gambians not worried about IEC? Is IEC not worried that a small error on their part could plunge this beautiful nation into crisis? Those of us who are certain of a UDP victory come December 2021 and even those certain of their party victory in a free and fair elections should all be worried about IEC and Chairman Alieu Mamar Njie.
I know Chairman Njie and My uncle OJ have been best mates which started dacades ago since both were younger with Alfa Khan and I don’t want to insinuate anything here but certain things when one observes, it leads to mind bugging for instance check the IEC’s handling of the PPP’s two congresses the Papa Njie vs uncle BB Darboe and Kebba Jallow vs Touma Njie as examples and compared that to NCP case, anyone would without doubt suspect plain favouritism shown by IEC toward OJ Jallow who put up both Papa Njie and Jebba Jallow to succeed him. Though that might not be the case but people are entitled to build their own opinion on it thanks to the IEC’s lark of fairness in it. There is without doubt the IEC was aware of the fact that any form of favoritism clearly shown would violate it mandate completely but let us all be our own judges here and analyse these two cases thoroughly.
We all knew IEC claimed to have suspended NCP because of their internal differences but why did it not suspend PPP because of the same internal differences? We all saw NCP matter resolved due to IEC pressure but PPP first congress was marred with irregularities until the matter ended up in court and the courts was said to have declared the election of Papa Njie illegal yet IEC watched and did nothing. Again PPP went ahead and held another congress at Brikamaba in which Kebba Jallow was elected leader. This one was even worst as it was marred with violence until police were called. Again IEC did neither sanctioned nor called them to order. They let OJ camp do as it pleases and even when Touma Njie complained to the, they later wrote to her that they could not interfere in internal party matters.
Look IEC cannot be untouchable if it could suspend NCP party for six months “based on nothing but an internal party matter though claiming their decision to suspend the NCP was derived from section 127 of the Election Act but in my view there was no violence warranting such suspension and they did not lift the ban until on 9th July 2020 when they claimed the two camps have signed a joint declaration expressing their willingness to unite preceded by rigorous negotiations all of which were witnessed by the IEC itself. The sincerity with which the negotiations and the ultimate agreement were carried out gave room for the IEC to lift the suspension of the NCP. You see my point?
That was never done in the case of PPP why despite PPPP case was worse than the NCP one. The IEC chief electoral officer, Samboujang Njie later said: “The commission would sit and come up with a decision on the PPP matter which would be communicated accordingly to the public. But what did we saw? The IEC wrote to the clerk of the National Assembly on the 19th May telling him it has recognized Kebba Jallow as the ‘official’ leader of PPP why? On what basis and on what grounds they didnt explain. What sort of hypocrisy was that?
Like I said I don”t trust the IEC and I urge all to watch them very closely this coming 2021 election. Adama Barrow is showing blank confidence despite all indications show he would surely loose. But that is not my worry. My worry is OJ and IEC Chairman Alieu Momar Njie. OJ supports Adama Barrow though we don’t know who IEC Chairman supports despite he will vote for someone surely. Now who knows? I only hope and pray friendship would not affect judgement here.
What led to IEC ignoring PPP issue is a cause for concern and what happened in Kebba Jallow/Touma Njie case should be an eye opener. Unless IEC proofs me wrong by not allowing friendships cloud judgement, I would keep my position can the IEC be trusted?