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.