Gambia says ECOWAS claim of unfair poll fabrication
The sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS says it will not send observers to Thursday’s presidential
election in the Gambia, because the “preparations and political environment are not conducive
for the holding of free, fair and transparent polls,” but the Gambian government has described
the claim as fabrication.
In a statement, ECOWAS says it’s boycotting Gambia’s November 24 presidential election to protest
against what it called, the unsatisfactory climate of fear and intimidation in the run up to the poll.
However, in an interview with West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) Wednesday evening, Jammeh’s
Campaign Manager and Gambia’s Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Lamin Kaba Badio
said the ECOWAS Commission President was acting unilaterally and that other international election observers
are in the country for Wednesday’s poll, including the African Union, European Union, among others.
“To take a decision at this hour, we don’t know what they want to gain out of that…Mr. Gbeho and his colleagues at the ECOWAS Commission must be prepared to take full responsibility for any eventuality,” Minister Badio told WADR.
According to him, opposition politicians and parties could take advantage of the ECOWAS move to make wild claims about the electoral process in the West African nation.
The sub-regional body’s statement to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh says it has been conducting a regular monitoring of the political situation and preparations ahead of the election through the ECOWAS Early Warning System.
ECOWAS Commission President James Victor Gbeho said, there is a conclusion that any election amidst these conditions would fail to reflect the true outcome of the poll.
According to him, the fact-finding mission and the Early Warning System paint a picture of intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the ruling party, lack of neutrality of institutions and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.
Click audio below to listen to WADR Frank Sainworla’s interviews President jammeh’s Campaign Manager, Minister Lamin Kaba BadioTweet