EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has rescinded its decision to use ballot papers in 2021 presidential elections, sources say.
Eye Africa TV understands IEC will maintain the traditional marble system.
The system was introduced in 1960 to ensure that everyone had their say in a country with a high illiteracy rates.
However, as more political parties are being formed, the commission believes that the marble system has simply become too complicated to handle and instead opted for a paper ballot system.
The move to replace the voting system has been met with mixed reactions, with several politicians and political commentators opposing the change.
“We used to have only two or three contestants. But today sixteen parties have registered candidates and we also have independent candidates,” IEC Chairman, Alieu Momor Njai told DW in an interview last October.
Chairman Njai said it will be difficult to place dozens of different-colored drums in every polling station.
“It would be a nightmare and a headache to transport them,” he said. “After the elections, where will you keep them?”
As of early March 2021, at least 17 political parties have successfully registered and several other independent candidates are preparing to contest. Meaning more ballot drums are needed for each polling station.
At this moment, Eye Africa TV cannot confirmed the rational behind the commission’s decision to suspend using ballot papers. But, IEC’s failed attempt to start registration process on time coupled with other logistical problems could be the leading factor.