GDC: NPP responsible for vote-buying
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) has accused the ruling party of mostly being the culprit of vote-buying in the country.
A press release issued by the party and signed by Hon. Mamma Kandeh, the party leader and secretary general states that: “It is with evidence that most of these embarrassing acts (vote-buying) is from the ruling party and as a result they are not law abiding.”
The release added that our laws towards vote-buying are dead and buried because the implementers do not take the needful actions.
It added that vote-buying has serious implications, noting that “recently, an NPP stalwart supporter has been caught buying votes in Banjul and it has reached to the police. This, we believe is more than the needed evidence to act accordingly with the law.”
“The ruling party will be protected at all cost at the detriment of our own laws,” also said the release.
“The importance of law is to provide justice but the continuous violation of a law without penalties can be considered as advice and not laws anymore,” the release further said.
“Vote-buying is an act of corruption and the end result is electing corrupt politicians who are not merely a trait of development characterized by weak political ideas and incompetence.”
“Our electoral system continues to lose its integrity as their laws no longer serve their purpose,” it also said.
GDC said they have examined the consequence of vote-buying and expressed their fervent disappointment over the issue.
“Vote-buying has been very popular in our election and series of complaints have been forwarded to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and no meaningful actions have been taken. This practice has weakened our democracy since candidates winning is based on one financially muscled to dash out cash.”
“Vote-buying is morally and legally wrong and it has great negative impact on electoral behaviour,” the statement continued, adding that: “by looking at voter turnout and candidates selection in some areas where campaign took place, we can infer the likely effect of voter turnout and electoral outcomes.”
The statement described vote-buying as a criminal act but stated that no ruthless action has ever been taken by the IEC to bring those committing the act to book.
According to him, “There are so many instances where material evidence has been presented to the IEC only to be comforted with ‘we will investigate’.
He went on to say that vote-buying has deterred good aspiring political leaders from running for office or deny them an entry to political office because money is chosen by the electorates over ideas or experience.
“The vote-buying is seriously undermining our democracy and the franchise right of all citizens, as it enables poor governments and undercut citizens ability to hold their elected officials accountable,” he also said.
“Vote-buying is a contentious issue in our contemporary discourse on the sustainability of democratic development in The Gambia,” further said the release.
Finally, IEC performance in their duty is to organise a credible election and to maintain and uphold the electoral laws and failing in this regards is equal to participating in violating their electoral laws, it points out.