Madam Marie Sock

The first Gambian woman to vie for the December 4 Elections, Marie Sock Jobarteh has declined an offer from President Barrow’s Camp to join the Incumbents team, which has seen lots of endorsements from Independent candidates whose nominations credentials were rejected by the Independent electoral commission.

Like other rejected Independent candidates, Marie Sock Jobateh was also at the State House in Banjul and met the president twice for discussions but the two could not reach an agreement.

“Yes I can tell you the big man had close door meetings with Independent candidate Marie Sock twice at State house. The outcome of the meeting is not clear to me but I was told Marie refused Barrow’s offer,” one source with knowledge of the meeting told Alkamba times.

Marie Sock has made history as the first female Gambian seeking to contest in a presidential election, and to formally file nomination papers at the Independent Electoral Commission last week.

She was the only female among the 20-plus politicians filing for the forthcoming election. She was also one of the 15 aspirants whose nomination papers were rejected by he IEC.

It would be recalled that the IEC over the weekend announced that only six out of the 21 who submitted their nomination papers were deemed qualified to participate in the election.

The reason given for her rejection was that “she did not fulfill the legal requirement, and did not submit the assets declaration.”

Sources say Sock will address the media today about her future plans, after the IEC scuttled her bid to become the first Gambia female to be in a contest for the presidency.

In the first public statement after her disqualification from the race, Madam Sock explained reasons for  the rejection of her bid:

“My fellow Gambian citizens and supporters, I have sad news to share. As you know, I have dual citizenship, Gambian and American. To be a candidate for the presidency of The Gambia, a candidate is, quite rightly, required under The Gambian law, to be a Gambian citizen exclusively. To meet this requirement, I contacted the American Embassy in The Gambia last year, and again this year on several occasions, for the purpose of renouncing my American citizenship. I appealed to a senior US Embassy officials with the authority to accept my renunciation, to begin the process. However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US Embassy was not conducting any services except in emergency cases. Recently, I contacted the Embassy again as I felt my situation qualified as an emergency case but was told that the building was undergoing renovations and they couldn’t grant my request. They did not consider the matter a priority. I have been asking for further updates without any resolution. I have not been able to arrange a meeting – for some reason, officials at the embassy, were not available to grant me a meeting”.

Regrettably, today 5th November 2021, is the definite deadline by which all candidates need to have produced their documentation to the IEC. Legally until a renunciation is completed, I do not meet the requirement to continue my Presidential Campaign. I understand the deadline cannot be extended since there have been no exceptional circumstances under, which an extension can be granted” and disappointingly, this challenge has effectively stopped me from completing my registration as a Candidate, and I must, consequently, suspend my campaign, effective immediately.” 

Gambia’s constitution says a person with dual nationality is not qualified to contest in the country’s presidential elections.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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