Your Vote is Your Choice!

Speech Delivered By Alieu Momarr Njai On The Occasion Of The Training Of Trainers For The Presidential Election Held At The Paradise Suites Hotel On Saturday 19th November 2016

 

 Vice Chairman and Commission Members,

Heads and representatives of Political Parties,

Commissioners of Police,

Members of the Press,

Staff of the IEC,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Good morning

 

Today marks yet another day of great importance in the electoral process of our beloved country – The Gambia. I thus want to take this opportunity to warmly welcome you all to this important Training of Trainers for the Presidential Election scheduled for the 1st December 2016. 

I am of the strong conviction that this training will go a long way in enhancing all of us with the required knowledge and skills in the conduct of a free, fair and transparent election.

It is clear to all present here that, elections are universally recognized to form a very important role in safeguarding the desired peaceful environment of any nation. Consequently, I believe that at the end of this training all of you here present, as participants, will be fully equipped with the requisite knowledge to perfectly conduct the election come December 1st 2016. 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. 

The days and weeks ahead are very important milestones in the political landscape of The Gambia, as we envisage and assiduously approach the Presidential Election, which makes a direct call on the entire population of the country to come out, to vote, and to participate in the electoral processes while strictly adhering to the Electoral Code.

The clarion call to the population is to make their beliefs, their aspiration, and their will counted in the direction and the manner in which this nation will be governed. Election time therefore is an opportunity for you as individuals to make your voice heard loud and clear, for as it is said: “your vote is your voice”. Therefore we shall look at the role the different stakeholders play in the Electoral process.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Elections have evolved over the years out of the desire of the governed population to be directly involved in the selection of their leaders; and in most cases it is at this one time that the entire people can collectively and individually call their representatives to account, and as I said earlier, to make their will known.  

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Liberal democratic elections can trace their origin to ancient Athens, and to the Demos gathering in the town square. Modern electoral system design however, is traced back to the mid, and to late 19th century in Western Europe.

The tide of colonial independence through the 1960’s led many African states to experiment with multi-party elections.

Elections have been very widely accepted as a process that allows broad based participation in the selection of political leadership, and great importance has been placed on the outcome of elections because of the ability of the results to legitimise government activity. Successful elections however, do not happen without careful preparation and planning. They are huge and costly events entailing the completion of a myriad of tasks and sub- tasks and involving large numbers of people, all of whom should be aware of their responsibilities in the electoral process and accountable under the law for their actions.

Good elections require four elements: an election law that is fully tuned to provide free and fair elections; an election commission which is truly autonomous and fearless; administrative procedures that ensure even the smallest man and woman can exercise their franchise freely and without fear; and an electorate which is fully aware of its rights and responsibilities.”

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

The Electoral Process begins long before Polling Day. It involves an intricate network of delicate exercises, requiring very astute adherence to legislation and rules. The process is made even more challenging and sometimes overwhelming with added demands from political stakeholders.

Since the essence of elections is that they be seen to be ‘free and fair’ by all parties involved, and because of the often-sensitive context in which elections are conducted, it is essential that all activities preceding and leading up to polling day be properly administered. Polling day itself cannot go wrong, if the elections are not to be suspect. Your role is therefore what determines this critical outcome.

The dimensions of free and fair elections evoke a number of considerations. These include the ethical basis in the conduct of the election, accessibility of the electorate to voting areas, equity of the vote where all votes and all voters are treated equally, security of polling operations, transparency of actions and decisions, professionalism of voting personnel, accountability, secrecy of the vote, sustainability, readiness and cost effectiveness. The process witnessed by party agents, domestic (local) and international observers and the distribution of the register both soft and hard copies with a total of 886,578 voters with 1,422 polling stations.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Once again, I want to appeal to all of you the Assistant Returning Officers to take this training with all needed seriousness so as to acquire the knowledge for which purpose we are gathered here.  I want to thank all of you for responding positively to the invitation extended to you by the IEC and that we will always appreciate your various contributions towards the conduct of a free, fair and transparent election in our dear motherland, The Gambia. You are enjoined to take great care of the electoral materials and to account for everything put under your care.

For those of you, who will be working at West Coast Region and Kanifing Municipality, pay particular attention to the re-demarcation and the use of constituency stickers.

In conclusion, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me at this juncture to render the Commission’s gratitude and appreciation to UNDP for the support through the Election Project and the Government of the Gambia for fully funding the Supplementary Voter Registration where 89, 649 voters were registered and this Presidential Election.

 Our sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the other stakeholders in the electoral process especially the Political Parties, the Security Agents, the Media, Observers and the electorate without whose support and co-operation, our work would not have been this easy and gratifying.

Lastly, I thank the Commissioners and Staff of the Commission for their dedication and hard work.   

With these few remarks, I now have the singular honour and privilege in officially declaring this training programme open. Thank You and may God bless you all.


Peaceful Election The Total Of Final Election Results