BANJUL EXPERIENCE LOW VOTER-TURNOUT

By Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
Banjul, The Gambia, 6 April 2017 – Banjul, the Capital of The Gambia, generally experienced low voter-turnout in all the polling stations of the three constituencies namely Banjul South, Banjul North and Banjul Central.
Isatou Jallow-Ndure, IEC Commissioner and the Returning Officer for Banjul Administrative Area confirmed the low voter turnout, stressing that she was expecting more voter turnout. She said women normally go to the market and cook in the morning and however hoped that voters will show up and the number will be increased. Madam Ndure said normally there is always a massive turnout in the presidential elections but in the past, from experience, IEC have realized that few people vote in National Assembly Elections [N.A.E],

“Even though the IEC, NCCE, CSOs and other organizations have been carrying out a lot of voter educations”. She expressed delight that the elections have been going on peacefully, no violence, complains or hitches which they are comfortable with.
Musa Jammeh, the Presiding Officer for the two streams at July 22 Square noted that in the Presidential Elections the voter turnout was impressive but described today’s voter turnout as not pleasing despite the fact that voters were well sensitized in all the media outlets. They said for each of their streams, they were given 800 tokens and going as expected, it is an obligation on every citizen 18 years and above to vote and be voted for during elections to exercise their civic rights.
The Presiding officer for Methodist 2, Banjul South said it is the civic right of voters to vote for the candidate of their choice, adding that not voting means the voters doesn’t have a choice.
He asserted that millions of Dalasis has been spent on the N.A.E, thus the need for people to vote for the candidates who will serve as their mouth piece in the Parliament. He said in his polling station, they were issued 788 tokens but it had not gone half way at the time of this reporter’s visit.
Station Officer, Nicolas Mendy for Banjul South constituency said that voting has been going on smoothly without and security hitches. However, he said they do not allow public gathering within the polling stations after the casting of votes.
The wife of the GDC candidate for Banjul South constituency, Bajen Senghore expressed her disappointment for the low voter turnout, adding that the N.A.E is as paramount as the Presidential election.
She reiterated that development in Banjul South is then least encouraging noting that people should therefore manifest their votes in order to bring in the constituency and Banjul as a whole.