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GAMBIA: EWC REPORT CONFIRMS VIOLATION OF CAMPAIGN ETHICS

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Election Watch Committee (EWC) The Gambia has reported violations of campaign ethics by political parties.

Speaking at a press briefing, Ansumana Camara, Chair of the EWC Staring Community said during the campaign period, political parties were put in force to hold campaign activities across the country.

He added that EWC observers in all regions reported either witnessing or hearing of campaign events or rallies in their assigned regions, noting Observers’ reports mostly showed that the parties and candidates are freely conducting their campaigns with no restrictions.

He also said the EWC observers reported witnessing or hearing of isolated incidents of campaign ethics violations including the use of state resources such as government vehicles or distribution of cash or items by government officials during the campaign, candidates providing money or gifts to supporters, or buying voters cards.

“These violations created an unlevel playing field during the election campaign and diluted the premise that political campaigns should be contested based on a candidate’s skills, idea, and ability to lead the wards and not based on their ability to purchase the most votes,” he said.

However, the Chair of the EWC Staring community added that the majority of the election observers have noted they have witnessed national security forces during campaign events and rallies of political candidates.

He affirmed that the EWC did not receive reports of any case of intimidation or abuse by security agents during the campaign period.

“EWC observers reported isolated incidents of inflammatory and divisive languages or hate messages on social media. The election watch committee strongly condemns the use of hate speech and inflammatory language, including on social media.”

Meanwhile, he said the campaign remained largely peaceful with no serious incidents of violence, adding EWC observers did not witness or hear of violent attacks during campaign events.

By: Nyima Sillah

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