EWC to continue to observe campaign period
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Elections Watch Committee (EWC) – The Gambia has said that it will continue to observe the campaign period and will submit a final campaign update at the close of the process.
It said it will observe processes such as political rallies, campaign marches, demonstrations, debates, the use of the media, flyers, posters, billboards, and community outreach events.
It added that its observers will also watch out for campaign violence within their assigned areas such as the propagation of hate speeches and divisive messages, intimidation, and harassment targeted at electoral actors and other groups. Observers will further report on civic and voters’ education activities as well as the IEC preparatory activities for Election Day at the regional and constituency levels, it also said.
The EWC further said that in addition to its Campaign Update, it will immediately share with the appropriate authorities any verified critical incident reports or any other relevant information so that actions would immediately be taken to address the issue(s).
The Election Watch Committee (EWC) is a partnership of 7 organizations with different expertise and background collaborating to observe the electoral processes in The Gambia.
It trained and deployed fourteen (14) long-term observers (2 observers in each administrative region) to observe the nomination process of Mayoral/Chairpersons candinates within The Gambia. The nomination period ran from 27th April to 3rd May 2023.
The EWC also trained one (1) data entry clerk that was stationed at the EWC National Information Center in Kanifing to collect checklist reports and critical incident forms from observers on the reporting days.
The EWC observers observed whether aspirants submitted complete nomination packages and whether the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) followed procedures in either accepting or rejecting their nominations.
However, in many instances, the IEC confirmed receipt of the nomination package and later called the candidate to return to collect their acceptance of the nomination. According to EWC, its observers were not able to fully observe how the IEC reviewed the packages or if candidates were asked to make corrections to their nomination packages. However, they noted that no objections were made to candidate nominations in 42 out of 42 reports.
EWC Observers reported that all candidates were given a copy of the ‘Acceptance of
Nomination Forms’ after the completion of their nomination process.
The EWC said the candidate nomination process was generally peaceful with no major instances of violence and disruption.