Hello Mr. Editor,
I am a concerned Gambia and I feel obliged to put up this serious concern about the just concluded registration of voters in preparation of 4th December 2021 presidential elections. The Gambian taxpayers paid millions of dalasi to facilitate the IEC to undertake the general registration of voters. Initially there were push and pulls between the IEC and GPPA as to the legality of the entire process in terms of transparency and accountability.
Several companies came forward with their proposals so as to be given the opportunity to take part in this noble exercise but unfortunately, the IEC stood firm and insisted on awarding the contract to ESI simply because of past experience. ESI partnered with the IEC in both 2011 and 2016 general and sup[plementray registrations under the chairmanship of Mr. Muatspha Carayol which exercises were excellently conducted.
After two experiences 2011 and 2016, one must be with the view that this third exercise would have been the best but unfortunately it turns out as the worst activity ever undertaken by the commission in its entire history. The activities of ESI and IEC must be investigated by either GPPA or the National Assembly or the Executive because there was no value for money. Something wrong and suspicious has happened. The materials brought by ESI were poor quality and under supplied. Infact IEC ended up using 2011 materials like printers, ribbon etc.
Never in the history of IEC applicants or people acquiring the voter’s card are asked to go and come back for the collection of the cards. Cards were printed on the spot. The registration has ended and yet still some people did not get their cards in the field. This is serious and the nation needs an explanation. The IEC cried that the government was limiting them in terms of funding but it later emerged that the government provided all the funds required and asked for by the IEC.
The following needs to be asked and explained:
1. The actual content of the contract document
2. The quality and quantity of materials brought in by ESI
3. Why there was a shortage of materials (even claimant forms)
4. Who were the beneficiaries of (possible kickbacks)
5. Why was this registration a failure compared to the previous exercises
6. Why 2011 and 2016 materials were used
7. What happened to the new supplies which the IEC paid for
8. Why most of the new materials and equipment were not good and in mass/compromised products.
9. Why endless and avoidable errors and poor performance under the present leadership of the commission.
10. The way forward
The questions can go on and on. If the relevant authorities do not take the appropriate actions the commission may likel;y endanger the security of the country. Elections are not a childs play.
More revelations are coming. The last time it was raised concerning the incompetence of the vice chairman coup-led with the aging chairman the tendency of poor services is eminent.
A concerned Citizen
For The Gambia Ever True!
Join The Conversation