NAMs Urge To Introduce Quota System For More Women Participation

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By Fatou Dahaba

The Election Watch Committee (EWC) Observation mission for Local Government Elections recommends the National Assembly encourage and prioritize legislation that introduces a quota system in both the National Assembly and Local Government Councils to ensure representation of women and people with disability in elected offices.

Based on its observations, the EWC released its final report on the Local Government Elections on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023, at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia.

Over the years, women’s participation in The Gambia has been limited due to many factors, including cultural, social, and economic barriers.

According to the 2021 IEC voter register, women form 57 percent of the general vote population, making them the most significant group participating in electing candidates. However, women’s participation is minimal, particularly as candidates in the country’s electoral cycle.

According to EWC’s Councilor election report, out of 367 aspirants that submitted their nominations, there were only 58 women aspirants. The EWC noted a low number of female candidates, as only 16 percent were women.

In the Mayoral and Chairperson election, out of 32 aspirants, only 2 were women, representing only 6.25 percent of the contested candidates. The IEC report indicated that only 1 (Banjul) out of 8 positions were won by women.

In all EWC Observation, women’s participation has been a priority watch area for the Election Watch Committee.

Ansumana Camara, Chairman of the Election Watch Committee, said the EWC seeks to promote youth, women, and people with disability in the electoral cycle and facilitate a well-coordinated and organized observation of the electoral process.

“We also promote transparent and accountable electoral process in the Gambia by promoting and fostering peace and stability before, during, and after elections; this is one reason why the EWC is funded.”

Artan Alijaj, Senior Resident Director of the National Democratic Institute, said every country should make sure election processes are observed and validated to international standards.

The Election Watch Committee (EWC) is a partnership of 7 organizations with different expertise and backgrounds – Peace Ambassadors-The Gambia (PAG), ACTIVISTA, National Youth Parliament (NYP), Think Young Women (TYW), Beakanyang, Peace Hub – The Gambia (PHTG), and The Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD). Collaborating to observe the electoral processes in The Gambia.

The EWC’s observation of the 2023 Local Government elections was built on the EWC’s observation of the 2021 Presidential election, including the Voter Registration process, the display of a provisional list of voters, the candidate nomination and campaign period, the 2021 presidential election day and as well the 2022 National Assembly elections.

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