Gambia’s polls rated by observers as ‘free’, ‘fair’ disputed

One of Gambia’s leading opposition figures, Mama Kandeh, told The Torch that his party is contesting the election “results in its entirety”.


Kandeh’s GDC won 5 seats in the lawmaking body

The African Union, ECOWAS and European Union observers have described Gambia’s first polls after the fall of strongman Yahya Jammeh as “free”, “fair” and “transparent” though they have noted handful of inadequacies to be corrected going forward.

Gambians have gone to polls on Thursday to elect National Assembly members and parties backing new president Adama Barrow won an overwhelming majority.

The AU mission chief, Terry Tselane, told journalists at a press conference on Saturday that the integrity of country’s recent polls has been protected.

“I am giving them 9 out of 10 and I am leaving out that 1 because we raised some issues that ought to be improved upon,” Tselane told journalists.

Meanwhile, UN secretary general’s West Africa representative, Muhammed Ibn Chambas, has also told The Torch following the AU press conference that the global body is “very pleased about the outcome of the elections”.

“The UN is very pleased that Gambia has come out looking very good, only 3 months into this new government, to hold another elections and it has passed this major test very admirably,” Chambas said.

However, one of Gambia’s leading opposition figures, Mama Kandeh, told The Torch that his party is contesting the election “results in its entirety”.

The party leader has not though mention specific cases of malpractices but said they will make a formal complain when they have a case, following their investigation.

The IEC boss confirmed to The Torch that there was no formal complaint from any party contesting the credibility of the polls since yesterday but Kandeh said they will after their investigation.

The challenge will come as a disappointment to the Alieu Momarr Njai who told The Torch a day before election that they were preparing to conduct Gambia’s must transparent election in history.

The Torch has learnt that the GDC has dispatched a team to go investigate their claims across the country.

Kandeh told some online publications yesterday that they are contesting the polls because of the involvement of the presidency into campaign for his coalition candidates, though while that may amounts to abuse of incumbency, experts say, it is not a base to nullify election results.

The EU observed have raised deficiencies such as inadequate regulation over campaign financing, exclusion of Gambians in diaspora from the process, among others.



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