We are now into the formal fielding of candidates for the Dec 4 presidential election, with the opening of nominations starting during the weekend at Election House.

It is usually an exciting national event with great fanfare, especially by the big political parties.

It is an opportunity to put up a show of popular support by mobilizing huge crowds, to accompany their flagbearers to file their nomination papers.

The ones to watch will be the UDP, NPP, GDC, PDOIS and the Sobeya/Turnaround movement of the independent candidate, Essa Mbye Faal.

But do not rule out a surprise from any of the aspirants; the way we were surprised by the persons throwing their hat in the ring, as well as their number – 26 according to the IEC.

One other thing to also watch out for is the possibility of the announced aspirants opting out at the last minute.

This could be due to joining the alliances now being announced at the eleventh hour, or because of other reasons such as the hefty nomination fee requirement. 

Usually, this fee is refundable provided the candidate polls x percent of the votes cast in the election.

But the IEC is expected to make a windfall should the majority of aspirants get nominated.

This should help it to recoup some of the public funds invested in organizing the public elections – estimated to be around…

In any case, being successfully nominated is not automatic, as their is a qualification criteria – as spelt out on the IEC web site – which must be fulfilled in order to receive a pass mark.

It is not anticipated that there will be any rejected nominations; since all the aspirants are expected to have done their home work well, before submitting their papers.

However, as regards who finally goes through, this will only be known to the public when the IEC officially announces the certified contestants by next weekend, when the process ends.

That stage would be another exciting moment, when both the candidates and electorate will know that the dice is cast!

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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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