Banjul, Gambia (PANA) – Gambian opposition party, the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), says it will not take part in any election in the country unless there are electoral reforms.
“We do not exist to take part in exercises in futility or knowingly go through the formal motion of pre-programmed electoral defeat …,” the party’s National Youth Administrator, Bafulo Manneh, said on Thursday at a public outreach centre in Sukuta.
Manneh, who was speaking to journalists on the 2016 presidential elections, said the GMC believed that political power must be derived legitimately from the people through credible elections.
He said: “Our leader, Comrade Mai Ahmad Fatty, is categorically rejecting attempts to assume power through unconstitutional means, or retaining power through fraudulent electoral subterfuge.”
“We consider both unconstitutional attempts to change a government and retaining political power through electoral subterfuge identical in purport, and therefore equally reprehensible and condemnable.”
Manneh argued that both situations sought to perpetuate political fraud against the polity, by subverting the democratic aspirations and actual voting intent of Gambians. Therefore, both practices deserved equal treatment with equal measure.
The GMC participated in the 2011 presidential election by forming an alliance with the United Democratic Party (UDP) but they managed only 17 per cent of the total votes.
On Thursday, Manneh noted that the party wanted to share its position on matters connected to elections. “As a political party, we seek to access power through credible elections. It was the lack of a credible electoral process that excluded us from participating in elections since 2012,” he said.
He said with their hands and feet tied by the system, they found themselves literally excluded by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), and it became impossible to submit to such a process under the circumstances.
Manneh said: “It has to change. If the electoral system is not reformed, and the system does not change to meet the challenges we face, there will be no realistic opportunity for genuine plurality.
“Going to elections under such circumstances would not only be unfaithful, but would constitute a conspiracy to usurp the power of the electorate in determining their destiny. Opposition equates it with treason, and therefore GMC will have nothing to do with participating at what we consider an electoral crime.
“Let me assure you from the highest authority of GMC: there will be no elections without electoral reform. We will use all legitimate means in our power, working in tandem with all stakeholders both at home and around the world, to assure the supremacy of the actual voting intent of our electorate, through comprehensive electoral reforms and internationally accepted good practices.”
Photo: Freedom newspaper