Monday, June 17, 2024

GDC accuses IEC of ignoring vote-buying complaints

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By: Dawda Baldeh

Barely two days before the councillorship elections, the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) has accused the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of ignoring vote-buying complaints, saying it will negatively impact the outcome of the elections.

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The party through their leader expressed disappointment over the issue and call for action against vote-buyers.

“Vote-buying has been very popular in our election and a series of complaints have been forwarded to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and no meaningful actions have been taken,” the GDC party leader said in a statement.

Kandeh stated that the practice has weakened the country’s democracy since candidates winning is based on their financial muscle to dash out cash.

“Vote-buying is morally and legally wrong and it has a great negative impact on electoral behaviour.

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It is sad to know that vote-buying is a criminal act, but no ruthless action has ever been taken by the IEC to bring those committing the act to book,” he claimed.

According to the GDC boss, there are so many instances where material evidence has been presented to the IEC only to be comforted with “we will investigate.”

“We have seen how vote-buying deters good aspiring political leaders from running for office or deny an entry to the political office because money is chosen by the electorates over ideas or experience,” Kandeh emphasized.

He noted that vote-buying is seriously undermining the democracy and the franchise right of all citizens.

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the opposition leader said the act enables poor governments and undercuts citizens’ ability to hold their elected officials accountable.

“Vote-buying is a contentious issue in our contemporary discourse on the sustainability of democratic development in The Gambia.

Our laws towards vote-buying are dead and buried because the implementers do not take the needful actions,” he asserted.

Kandeh said evidence has it that vote-buying is from the ruling party whom he described as “not law-abiding.”

He outlined that vote-buying has serious implications which can hinder the provision of laws and their implementations.

“Recently, an NPP stalwart supporter has been caught buying votes in Banjul and it has reached the police.

“This we believe is more than the needed evidence to act accordingly with the law.

“What has been the outcome? Nothing. The ruling party will be protected at all costs at the detriment of our own laws,” the party asserted.

He called for the enforcement of the laws to protect general safety and ensure the rights of citizens against abuses are maintained.

The GDC boss added that the importance of the law is to provide justice but the continuous violation of the law without penalties can be considered as advice and not laws anymore.

He described vote-buying as an act of corruption which can lead to electing corrupt politicians with weak political ideas and incompetence.

“Our electoral system continues to lose its integrity as their laws no longer serve their purpose,” he ended.

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