By Nelson Manneh/Momodou Jarju
LEGACY Gambia, a youth-led organization that participated in the recent elections conducted by the University of The Gambia Students Union (UTGSU), on Wednesday March 27th 2019, presented their election observation report to the UTGSU election body. LEGACY Gambia is an organization of young people who stand to help their fellow youth realize their potentials. They partake in assisting institutions and organization in election processes.
Sang Mendy the Secretary-General of UTGSU Election body said the intervention of LEGACY Gambia helps to improve the turnout of students during the election; that the election turnout this year is far better than the previous year; that last year the turnout was about 50%, compared to this year’s 70%.
“LEGACY Gambia has participated from the beginning to the end of the elections and the report that presented will help the next election body to do well in elections to come,” he said.
The Chairperson of LEGACY Gambia Kebba Mamburay who briefly read the report to UTGSU’s election body, said their aim was to independently observe all the election process from the campaign up to the end; that the report entails all the activities that took place throughout the process and some recommendations on the way forward.
Mamburay said this year the voter turnout was better than last year. That some of the things they observed during the election include ongoing campaign on day of elections.
“If this trend continues, it can affect the election process. We also realized that the holes on the ballot box were small and some students find it very difficult to cast their votes,” he said.
The LEGACY Chairperson outlined that the male students participated more in the elections than their female students; that on Election Day, the process was peaceful.
Dr. Ceesay a Political Science Lecturer at the University of The Gambia commended LEGACY for their participation in the elections.
“I was very impressed with the report presented by the LEGACY. It outlines all the activities and recommendations that will help the next executive in elections to come,” he said
Dr. Ceesay added that the hope of this country is in the hands of the youth, and they should be ready to take responsibility to shape the country for the next generations to come.
Below are the recommendations offered to the Election Commission of the University of The Gambia:
- EC to provide a better location for polls to avoid overcrowd by student
- All patrons should endure to struggle for peace in the outstanding phases of the electoral process to ensure a charming democratic transition
- To advocate for more women participation in the electoral process.
- The EC shall ensure the deployment of police for both security and management of proper queue of electorate so as to avoid electoral mismanagement.
- To better sensitize candidates in the deployment of polling agents for a free, fair and transparent election.
- Intensive and an unrelenting voter education to 1st year students, more precisely females.
- There should be sufficient airtimes for each and every single candidate to better familiarize electorates with his/her manifestos and policies, through this, an informed and independent choice would be made.
- This year’s election perceived more invalid votes compared to last year, the EC is hereby suggested to engage electorates more on voting processes.