Time of release – Immediate
The Civil Society Coalition (CSO) on Elections – The Gambia is pleased to inform the general public that it is in full preparation for the forthcoming Presidential elections slated for 1st December, 2016. The Coalition coordinated by the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) – The Gambia, notes with significance that its participation in the elections indicates a growing realization and involvement of Gambians in the democratization process of our country. Since its creation in 2006, the CSO Coalition on Elections – The Gambia has observed and monitored the electoral cycles of 2006 – 2008 and 2011 – 2013; providing Gambians the unique opportunity to directly participate in the observation of elections in a more organized and robust manner.
Therefore, in light of the preparation for the elections, the CSO Coalition on Elections with funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will conduct simultaneous training for over 100 election observers, monitors and data entry clerks from all over the country.
All the trained observers shall swear to the CSO Coalition on Elections’ Election Observers Pledge, which stipulates that an observer shall conduct observation according to accepted rules, guidelines and principles. These include being impartial by not supporting or opposing any candidate or party, and reporting based on what one sees by oneself and not what one hears or is told. The Pledge also calls on observers to uphold the principles of truth in their observation and to refrain from doing anything that will disrupt the voting process or the work of the polling officials, but to be cooperative at all times. Finally, the Pledge requires that observers do not speak to the press or publicly express their views on the elections in anyway. Observers shall respect at all times the requirements of their accreditation from IEC and shall display openly the accreditation badge.
In addition, the CSO Coalition on Elections would for the first time man an ‘Election Situation Room’ where real time analysis would be made on the elections. The Situation Room will provide timely and analyzed information to critical stakeholders including the Inter Party Committee, the IEC and security agencies for rapid response.
The CSO Coalition on Elections calls on Gambians to come out massively to vote peacefully in the elections as they determine the future and destiny of their country. Elections are one of the major indicators of democracy and a peaceful way of identifying the managers of the resources and affairs of society and should be conducted in peace and calm. All Gambians of 18 years and above with valid voter’s card have a right to vote.
As we prepare for the polls, the CSO Coalition on Elections would like to commend all the state and non-state actors, and all stakeholders for the unwavering commitment and contribution to the sustenance of the democratic culture, socioeconomic development and stability of The Gambia.
The CSO Coalition on Elections also wishes to express its gratitude to UNDP for its support.