By Madi Jobarteh
The ongoing NPP rally on the grounds of the State House is illegal and undermines democracy and good governance of the country. It is indeed a hugely worrying practice that manifests abuse of office and total disregard for the principles and standards of a free, fair and transparent elections.
State House is a non-partisan grounds. It must not be used for any partisan activity by any political party. Like Trump, unfortunately Adama Barrow is also undermining the integrity of public institutions by hosting such events at State House. Let NPP hire private or commercial venues to conduct its activities and not use official public premises to carry out partisan activities.
The use of State House grounds means the use of public resources for partisan activities. That hall they are currently using and the electricity that provides air conditioning as well as the other materials and services of State House that are being used are public properties that must not be used by any political party.
Therefore hosting an NPP rally on the grounds of the State House violates the Elections Act and undermines good governance norms. It is a practice intended to divert State resources to a political party. In the final analysis such practice is intended to undermine fairness, hence damage the integrity of the election. This illegal rally must be stopped ASAP.
The IEC must therefore urgently inform Pres. Barrow as a candidate that he must not use the State House grounds for electioneering purposes. The Inter-Party Committee must also stand their ground to demand NPP to stop using public premises, public resources and public officials for their electioneering activities. All citizens must raise their voice to condemn such electoral malpractices!
Let us not condone a malpractice that will come to entrench abuse of office and promote dictatorship.
If NPP could use State House to host an event will other political parties be also allowed to use State House to host their events since State House is a public place? If NPP can use the premises of State House it means they would also use office vehicles and other public resources to run their political activities contrary to the election law.
Secondly, Siaka Jatta is a public official hence he must not chair a meeting of a political party. A presidential adviser is a position in the Office of the President and not a political appointment like a Minister. Hence a Presidential Advisor must not be partisan but to remain neutral, professional and official and act according to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in Section 222 of the Constitution.
PMO and the Secretary General must call Siaka Jatta to order by asking him to refrain from partisan politics. Failure to comply he must be held accountable.
Therefore this NPP rally at State House is illegal and must be stopped immediately!
For The Gambia 🇬🇲 Our Homeland