Parliamentary election peaceful but voter turnout low

Sarjo Camara- Singateh

Serrekunda, Gambia, 6 April 2017 – A peaceful and conducive atmosphere prevails but voter apathy is evident in both Bakau and Serrekunda constituencies as at the time this report was filed for general consumption.

The electorate in the two constituencies went out to exercise their democratic rights on the 6 April, 2017 which is in consonant with the Constitution that every citizen of full grown age and mentally well is entitled to exercise their voting right either by been voted for or to vote.

From the polling stations that were visited by this reporter, no long queue was found, as voters presented themselves one after the other in both constituencies. The officials indicated that compared to the 2016 presidential election, the turnout of the parliamentary elections is not impressive.

Landing Bojang, Ms. Essatou Bella Bah and Lamin L. Ceesay presiding officers at the Plaza Cinema polling stations acknowledged the low voter turnout of voters. They noted that they received all their voting materials from the Independent Electoral Commission on time and intact. All the party representatives were present. Voting starts at 8 am and closes at 5pm

Plaza Cinema Polling Centre

Salifu Touray and Abdoulie B. Conteh both presiding officers at Gaddafi central mosque, lamented the low voter turnout. They also acknowledged receiving all their materials from IEC and all the Party agents were present at the polling centres. They indicated that polls opens at 8am and closes at 5pm

At Bakau Mamakoto, Saja Khan, Ms. Kaba Jawala Camara and Sainey Kuyateh expressed similar sentiments that the voter turnout is low. They indicated that in the morning, the turnout was fair but at the time of speaking to this reporter it continued to decrease. They acknowledged that party agents were present and the Independent electoral commission gave them all the necessary materials to conduct the elections. Poll started at 8am and they hope to close at 5pm.

Bakau Mama Koto Polling Centre

Speaking to Foroyaa, one Lamin Ceesay, a voter describes election as a civic duty and everyone should participate in the process. He indicated that in his area Bakau some people came out in their numbers but after a short period the centres were cleared. According to him, the role of a parliamentarian is very important as they look into the development of their various constituencies.

Ms. Fatou Darboe, also a voter noted that in the morning not many women came out to vote. “I believe by now some of them would be cooking, I am hopeful that after doing the household chores, they will come out and vote.”

One Fatou Njie of Serekunda, a voter stated that many people don’t take parliamentary election seriously because they don’t know the role of the parliamentarians. She indicated that those sitting at home should come out and vote for the candidate of their choice.