THE ELECTORAL REFORM PROPOSED BY THE EXECUTIVE HOW WILL THE NATIONLA ASSEMBLY REACT? WHAT ARE THE REFOPM PROPOSALS OF THE OPPOSITION?

It has come to the notice of Foroyaa that there is  plan to introduce
a  bill which would make it a requirement for Presidential Candidates
to deposit a non refundable fee of 1 Million Dalasis instead of arefundable fee of 10,000 Dalasis if one has 40 percent of the votes.
If the bill is passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the
President, candidates during National Assembly would pay a non
refundable fee of 100,000 Dalasis instead of a refundable fee of Five
Thousand Dalasis if one has 20 percent of the votes cast.  Mayoral
candidates would pay a  non refundable fee of  50,000 Dalasis instead
of a refundable deposit of 2500 Dalasis if  one has 15 percent of the
votes cast. Councillors would pay a non refundable fee of 10,000
Dalasis instead of a refundable deposit of 1250 Dalasis if one has 15
percent of the votes cast.
Section 26 of the Constitution states “Every citizen of The Gambia of
full age and capacity shall have the right, without unreasonable
restrictions –
(b)    to vote and stand for elections at genuine periodic elections for
public office, which elections shall be by universal and equal
suffrage and be held by secret ballot; (Emphasis ours)
In a country where only three candidates have been standing for
Presidential elections for the past 10 years despite the deposit being
fixed at 10,000 Dalasis, there is no justification for raising the
deposit to 1 Million Dalasis. Hence the amendment is unreasonable and
unjustifiable and would constitute an unreasonable restriction in the
exercise of political rights as enshrined in Section 26 of the
Constitution.
Furthermore, the executive is seeking to make it a law for political
parties to pay a registration fee of 1 Million Dalasis and a
registered membership of 10, 000 members with at least 1000 members
from each administrative area.
The Executive members of the party would have to be resident in the
Gambia and the party has to have a secretariat in each administrative
area.
However, nothing is mentioned in the Bill regarding state funding of
political parties.
Section 25 Subsection states that freedom to political Association. Any
imposition of non refundable and exorbitant fees without provision of
state funding of political parties. Electoral reform is not a one
sided affair. The country has a mature opposition which also has
interest in political reform. What is needed is the convening of an
interparty conference to review all proposals for electoral reform and
form a consensus. Anybody who is afraid of such a move does not have
the nation and people at heart.