APRC to amend its constitution in line with new electoral law

Balla Garba Juhumpa, secretary general of the APRC

Balla Garba Jahumpa, secretary general of APRC

The APRC party will amend its constitution to bring it in line with the country’s new electoral law passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by President Jammeh last year, Balla Garba Jahumpa has said.

The party supporters and members are expected to make these changes to their constitution on February 26 when they converge in Kaninlai for their congress.

In July last year the Independent Electoral Commission has made an amendment to the country’s electoral law which requires parties to pay half a million dalasi for registration of their candidates, open regional offices and yearly submit their audited accounts to the electoral authorities, among others.

Though the new electoral law was severely criticized by opposition parties, the IEC recently issued a press release threatening to deregister parties that failed to regularize their status with the electoral authorities before March 31.

“Sequel to the recent amendment to the Elections Acts 2009 especially the amendments made to Section 105, all Political Parties are urged to regularizes their Status accordingly. All Political Parties are to ensure that all their executive members are resident in the Country and that all political parties have a secretariat in each Administrative Region and that the constitution of the party requires it to hold a biennial congress,” the release stated.

“Furthermore, in accordance with the said laws, each existing party shall write an undertaking that it shall submit its yearly audited account to the commission. The above criteria and any other as enshrined in the Electoral Laws of The Gambia shall be met by all existing political parties latest 31st March 2016, as per the Elections (Amendment) Act 2015.”

And Balla Garba Jahumpa, the APRC secretary general, said they want to set an example by being the first party to comply with the new electoral law.

“On the agenda is an amendment of the APRC constitution in order to comply with the new elections amendment act, 2015,” Jahumpa said.

“As the ruling party, we want to be the first to comply with the new elections act.”

The congress will hold on the 26th of February at Kaninlai and about 1500 delegates are expected from all over the country, he added.

The arrival of delegates at the President’s home village, Jahumpa revealed, will be on Wednesday, February 25.

“We will also use the platform to announce the APRC candidate for 2016 presidential elections,” he added.

The APRC top guns including Balla Garba Jahumpa and Yankuba Colley have recently toured the country to meet their party supporters ahead of their congress.

The new law was very unpopular among the opposition who described it as an attempt by the Independent Electoral Commission to institute one-party state in the country.

However, since the statement from the electoral authority, the opposition all of whom have criticized the new law, have not broken their silence on what their response will be.

Though Lawyer Darboe of the opposition United Democratic Party has told Anadolu News Agency that opposition are meeting to devise appropriate means to respond to the IEC new law.

Jahumpa has also informed The Standard that the APRC party will hold a celebration to congratulate President Jammeh for the various awards he has received last year.

These awards were the Ebola support award from Serra Leone, AU ward for providing clean drinking water for majority of Gambians, the FOA ward for halving hunger and malnutrition in the country, among others.

“After the congress, we will also use the opportunity to celebrate all the awards that have been bestowed on our party leader from last year,” he said.

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