By Yusef Taylor January 19, 2022
The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission has alerted National Assembly Members to approve a Bill which will add five Diaspora Constituencies and change the voting system from Marble Tokens to Paper Ballots. Speaking to Gambian law makers during a consultation on the constitutional amendment Bill 2021 the IEC Chairperson, Alieu Momar Njai informed lawmakers that marble tokens cost taxpayers D2 million per candidate and that one ballot drum cost up to D2,000. Due to this and the increasing number of candidates, Njai believes that “we have to migrate to paper ballots.
Instead of having twenty candidates and one ballot drum for each candidate it will be just one”. The IEC chief made these remarks on Saturday 15th January 2022 at the OIC Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center. Mr Njai urged the National Assembly to approve the change of the Constituencies so they can have five Diaspora constituencies. And we will go round and register them. And they’ll vote and be voted in parliament. So that’s important, so we’re asking for five more seats in parliament for the Diasporans”.
Speaking further on the issue, Njai said the constitutional amendment Bill sought to provide for 16 National Assembly Members with the current National Assembly comprising some 53 seats. Alieu Momarr Njai says the Commission will “try to impress on the Political Parties to make sure that their nominees contest for elections to constitute at least 35% female. Because the women are not there because they are not selected. This new bill we are now discussing will take care of those things”.
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