Election Bill 2021: After ‘inadvertent error’, Justice Ministry issues statement

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The Gambia’s Ministry of Justice has issued statement on Tuesday after making what it described as an “inadvertent error” in the Election Bill 2021.

The bill was tabled before the National Assembly members on Monday for first reading.

Gambians took to social media to express concern after parts of the proposed new bill suggest changes that could reduce the country’s constituencies from 53 to 41.

Below is the full statement from the ministry:

It has come to the attention of the Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice that the First Scedule of the Elections Bill 2021 tabled before the National Assembly contains an inadvertent error. The amendment to the Elections Bill 2021 was carried out with the current Elections Act 1996, Cap 3:01 Laws of The Gambia, as the base document. As such the First Schedule contained in that Act which consists of 41 constituencies was inadvertently attached instead of the current schedule which contains 53 constituencies.

The Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice has been in contact with the Independent Electoral Commission and the National Assembly and this inadvertent error has been rectified. The correct First Schedule will be part of the Elections Bill which will undergo a second reading on Monday 29th March 2021.

We wish to assure the general public that contrary to news reports, no decision has ever been taken by Government to alter the list of constituencies, neither does the Government have the power to do so. The delimitation of constituencies is reserved solely for the Boundaries Commission pursuant to Section 50 of the Constitution and who’s powers are currently exercised by the Independent Electoral Commission under Section 9 of the Elections Act.

The Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice regrets this error and any inconvenience it might have caused to stakeholders and members of the general public.

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