Gambia’s election chairman Alieu Mamar Njai, has expressed his utter disappointment at ECOWAS’s move to boycott the country’s Presidential elections scheduled for December, 1st. The IEC Chairman was speaking in an interview with the BBC. “It is a disappointment in the sense that we part are part of ECOWAS. The ECOWAS Vice President is a Gambian,” he said.
This is not the first time that the regional bloc has boycotted elections in The Gambia. In 2011, ECOWAS boycotted the polls on the ground that the political field was not level. ECOWAS maintains that the concerns it raised in the past elections still exists in the Gambia. As such, ECOWAS said it is boycotting the Gambian elections.
Meanwhile, controversy surrounds ECOWAS’s election boycott. IEC Chairman Alieu Mamar Njai, who had earlier expressed disappointment at ECOWAS’s move not to observe the elections, has revealed that ECOWAS asked for an accreditation to observe the polls at the eleventh hour, when it was already late.
“We thought that they would be the first to ask for accreditation, but that’s not the case. By the time, we got their letter, the dead line was over,” Mr. Njai said.
Reacting to ECOWAS’s concern about the lack of level playing field to facilitate free, fair and transparent elections Mr. Njai remarked: “How can it be unlevel, when the political parties are not complaining about not been level?”
The European Union (EU) said it has been denied access by the Gambian government to observe the elections. The African Union observers have arrived in the country to monitor the polls, Alieu Mamar Njai, tells the BBC.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai