PDOIS LETTER TO IEC CHAIRMAN

CHAIRMAN
INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION

11th January 2016


SUBJECT:  HAS THE RE-DEMARCATION OF CONSTITUENCIES BEEN GIVEN LEGALHalifa 5
EFFECT AND WOULD GENERAL REGISTRATION TAKE PLACE IN ANY NEW
CONTITUTENCY

In three days time Supplementary Registration of voters would begin.
In your programme guide regarding the movement of your registrationteams ,there is no mention of any registration team for any new
Constituency.
You would recall that you did send a copy of “Legal Notice No.10 of
2015 dated 1st June 2015” which is cited as “Re- Demarcation Of
Constituencies, 2015.” This Citation stated that the Constituencies of
Kombo North, Kombo Central, Serrekunda East and Serrekunda Central
have been demarcated to increase the number of constituencies from 48
to 53.
We alerted your mind to the fact that Section 88 of the Constitution
makes provision for 48 constituencies and that no demarcation could
take place without an amendment of the Constitution. Hence we argued
that your demarcation had no legal foundation and was therefore null
and void.
In December 2015, the National Assembly passed a Bill to amend Section
88 to seek to remove the provision which restricted the number of
Constituencies to 48 and introduced the clause which requires the
National Assembly to have “at least 53 members”. This Bill requires a
Presidential assent and publication in the Gazette to become law.
The IEC should confirm whether the amendment has become law and then
publish its re-demarcation order.
Our concern is simple. Registration is to commence on the 14th
January 2016. If the New Constituencies take effect, there would be no
Kombo North, Kombo Central, Serrekunda  East  and Serrekunda Central.
Such constituencies would disappear. They would be replaced by the
following constituencies: Sannehmentereng Constituency; Old Yundum
Constituency; Busumbala Constituency; Brikama North Constituency;
Brikama South Constituency; TalindingKunjang Constituency;
LatrikundaSabiji Constituency; Serrekunda Constituency and
BundunkaKunda Constituency.
It goes without saying that General registration of all voters must
take place in such constituencies as required by the Constitution and
the Elections Act.  We have not seen any preparation being done in
that regard or any public notice being issued to that effect.
The Constitution is very clear on what should be done if a
Constituency is re-demarcated. It is obvious that if a Constituency is
re-demarcated it is replaced by other constituencies. Section 39 (1)
states that “every citizen of The Gambia being eighteen years or older
….shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in a National
Assembly Constituency for that purpose.”
Section11 Subsection (1) of the Elections Act  states: “The Commission
shall prepare, compile and maintain …….a register of voters for
each constituency and a register of Gambian registered voters in
Foreign countries.”
Hence, each voter must be registered under a Constituency if resident
in the Gambia. Therefore, if a Constituency is demarcated, voters in
the new constituencies must be registered under them. This fact is
incontrovertible.
We hope that you will issue a public notice before registration
commences to indicate the status of your re-demarcation exercise.
On the other hand, many Gambians abroad have been asking why they are
not registered to vote in presidential elections when section 11(1)
makes it mandatory for your Commission to maintain a register of
Gambian registered voters in Foreign Countries.
Your Commission has a duty to do what the law says and we hope that
you will give such concerns due consideration.
While anticipating the information conveyed to you would be
instructive in the formulation of your policies and programmes,

I remain,

Yours in the Service of the People

HalifaSallah
For The Central Committee