“Media organizations should ensure fair coverage and reporting of all candidates/parties running in the elections and avoid bias or prejudice in their reporting,” said executive director Marr Nyang. Thursday.
Gambia Participates has deployed 65 long-term observers stationed in the 53 constituencies to monitor the nomination and political campaigns ahead of the April 9 parliamentary elections. Each LTO observes political activities in their constituency and reports to the GP, while the 12 regional focal points oversee the GP’s observation mission in the 7 regions of The Gambia.
Prior to their deployment, refresher training was provided to observers on the GP Election Observation Mission methodology, observation reporting tools and code of conduct. The LTO checklist is divided into 7 parts, each part of the checklist was completed individually each week and reported to the GP database. LTO reports are based on data collected on general (political) environment, IEC preparatory activities, voter education, political campaigns, use/non-use of state resources , critical incidents and observer evaluation.
In his recommendations to political parties and candidates, Mr. Marr Nyang said: “We call on candidates and parties to refrain from using inflammatory language and to maintain a respectful campaign environment, especially with regard to religious beliefs and gender. Candidates must abide by all provisions of the electoral code, including restrictions on the use of government property to conduct political campaigning. Political parties should increase the participation of women in elected positions.
To citizens, civil society advised to engage in the electoral process in a non-violent manner and to work with security agencies to report incidents and threats of violence as well as the perpetrators of violence. “Should refrain from selling their votes to political candidates and should take evidence of political bribes and report to relevant authorities, including the IEC”
“We call on security agencies with a mandate to maintain order in the election campaign environment to fairly and independently allow candidates and parties to campaign freely in all parts of the country. Security agencies should be more intentional when addressing the warning signs of violence. Security officials should not use excessive force on citizens.