8 February 2013

Gambia: The Local Government Election

editorial

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is in action, this time rolling the electoral ball to the local government representatives. The Commission chairman has as usual embarked on a nationwide tour to enlighten the electorate on the significance of the process.

The IEC had in the past conducted free, transparent and fair elections throughout the country. We hope to see the same in the upcoming Local Government Election. The Commission is expected to take similar steps to ensure another success.

Conducting a local government election must be done with prudence as in other elections, hence the local government authorities are special representatives of the government throughout the country. Gambians should therefore take this election seriously.

It should be noted that, not only is the Local Government Election a democratic exercise, citizens should see it as a process to empower local people to have a say in the management of their affairs.

It must also be seen as part of the decentralisation process, which enables the local governments to take a more active part in the decision-making process that will uplift the living standard of their people in various districts and regions.

The Local Government Election is as important as the Presidential and National Assembly elections.The local government authorities are responsible for the provision of several services to the communities, including the provision of and construction of market places, car parks, domains and parks, health and education. Indeed, the local government authorities carry out similar functions as the central government. In this context, they are key players in the development process.

The important functions of local government authorities therefore, call for the election of able, willing and capable candidates, who can represent the voters and who put the interest of voters first. Gambians should therefore choose wisely among the candidates and vote in those candidates who can deliver.

April may look far away but time flies and we are looking forward to exercise our constitutional rights. Above all, the IEC should as always, maintain its independence and conduct the elections in a very transparent manner.

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