The Chairman of Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC’s) Alieu Mamar Njai, has been invited for questioning at the NIA for the second time, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mr. Njai was interviewed by the Agency few days ago. This followed Mr. Njai’s refusal to register trucks filled with soldiers, who stormed the IEC building demanding to be issued with voters’ card. But Mr. Njai stood his ground and decided to turn down the request of the soldiers.
According to NIA and IEC sources, the IEC Chairman was briefly interviewed and asked to leave. The interview primarily centered on Njai’s refusal to issue voters’ card to the unregistered soldiers, sources said.
“The Chairman told the NIA that he has taken oath to safeguard the constitution and his office. That, he will not violate his oath to act otherwise. But the NIA told him that his action constitutes lack of loyalty to the status quo. Mr.Njai maintains that he has sworn to uphold the law,” said our source.
The IEC Chairman has not publicly talk about his recent invitation to the NIA. But sources within the IEC have confirmed the story. Some leaders of the opposition are also aware of Njai’s invitation to the NIA for questioning.
” We have been reliably informed by our contact agents at the IEC that the Chairman Alieu Mamar Njai was questioned by the NIA few hours after he refused to issue voters’ card to some soldiers, who stormed his office last week. The Chairman was very consistent when interviewed by the NIA. He told them that he has taken an oath and he cannot betray his own oath. He was finally released,” said a member of the opposition parties in The Gambia.
A serious confrontation occurred yesterday at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) main offices, when four trucks filed with men wearing army uniforms stormed the IEC offices demanding to be issued with a voters’ card, but the Chairman of the Commission Alieu Mamar Njai, stood his ground and vehemently refused to issue voters’ card to the misbehaving “soldiers”, the Freedom Newspaper can authoritatively report. None of the soldiers had an Identity Card to be issued with a voters’ card. The IEC Chairman told the soldiers that he cannot issue them with voters’ card in the absence of an ID Card.
Hell broke loose, when the non compromising IEC Chairman made it clear to the “soldiers” that he cannot abdicate his duties and responsibilities by issuing voters card to soldiers without an ID card. The soldiers could be heard verbally communicating threats to the IEC boss. Some even said he risked being arrested, fired, or even harmed by the State. But such never threats never deterred the IEC Chairman to stand his ground.
It is against the Electoral Law for the IEC to issue voters’ card to voters without the following requirements to be met: One, voters’ card applicants are required by law to produce a national identity card; secondly, applicants should produce a birth certificate, passport; and thirdly must produce an attestation letter signed by five citizens before the Commission can issue them with a voters’ card.
According to sources on the ground, it is not even clear if the men in army uniform were Gambian citizens. None of them possess ID Card.
“Yahya Jammeh wants to rig the elections. The IEC Chairman has sent a strong message that he is not going to allow soldiers without ID cards to be issued with voters’ card. His decision has angered Jammeh. Mr. Njai might risked being fired, arrested or even harmed if this story is not reported. The “soldiers” have communicated threats against him. Now it’s clear that Alieu Mamar Njai is determined to oversee a free, and fair election based on what we have seen yesterday. To the surprise of everyone, he instructed his staff not to issue voters’ card to the soldiers. There was a push and pull between him and the soldiers. At the end of the day, Mr. Njai prevailed,” said our source.
Yahya Jammeh was probably testing the loyalty of his handpicked IEC staffers. Now that Alieu Mamar Njai has refused to toe his line, Gambians should not be surprised if Jammeh frames Mr. Njai before the elections.
“The safety and security of the IEC Chairman should be a concern to all Gambians and the international community. No one should freak out if Mr. Njai is replace in coming days. He has proven that he will not be used to rig the elections for Jammeh. The entire army command is worried including their Commander-in-chief Yahya Jammeh,” said our source.
By now the IEC should stop registering voters. Last week, the Commission invited political parties interested in taking part in the elections to visit the Commission and pick up nomination papers. But Yahya Jammeh is still sending his people to the Commission to be registered. Jammeh’s goal is to rig the polls.
In another development, the CDS Ousman Badjie, visited the Yundum barracks yesterday with an entourage of soldiers. Mr. Badjie and his team wrote down the serial numbers of the voters’ card of the soldiers. He warned the soldiers not to betray Yahya Jammeh. He told them that any soldier, who votes against Jammeh come December, he or she would be known. Soldiers are being intimidated to vote for the corrupt and failed Kanilai dictator.
In the meantime, a source writing to us from Banjul, said some Mauritanian nationals have started arriving in the country in an attempt to vote in the upcoming polls. ” Hello Mr. Pa. I was at the Barra Ferry Terminal yesterday and saw a Government pajero vehicle. I cannot remember the number plate that escorted the two 40 foot lorries, which came from Mauritania. No one knows what is inside the lorries. They arrived at 5 AM in the morning at the Barra ferry crossing. The lorry drivers were Mauritanian nationals” said our source.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai