Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Mansabanko Coverage Of Senegalese Polls In Gambia
Senegal citizens that are registered with the Senegalese Electoral Commission and are eligible to cast their voters have exercised their rights by participating in the 26 February, 2012 election, as they turned out to vote at the various polling stations allocated to them in The Gambia.
In Gambia, a total number of sixteen thousand and sixty-three (16,063) voters were expected to cast their votes at seventy-two (72) polling stations and eighteen (18) counting centers countrywide.
Voters showed up as early as 7:30 am in the morning, and polls opened at 8:00 am and closed at 18:00 hours, according to a party agent who spoke to Mansabanko.
A list of polling stations made available to Mansabanko, has the following polling stations and number of eligible voters: Bansang 184, Barra 556, Bakau 291, Basse 714, Brikama 1220, Brufut 587, Farafenni 699, Lamin 636, Gunjur 446, WYCEE Kanifing 1659, Ecole Primary Kanifing 1034, Kaur 129, Kuntaur 129, Serrekunda Primary School 4710, Sibanor 2, Soma 345, Ecloe Tobaco Road Banjul 2669, and Wellengara 118 voters.
Speaking to Mansabanko at WYCEE Kanifing polling station, was the Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia, Professor Diame’ Signate who then opined that the incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade the Senegalese Democratic Party (SDP) would sweep the polls. Professor Signate disclosed that he supports Wade and has casts his vote for Wade.
“I am supporting Wade with my whole family, and we are sure that Wade will win with landslide victory” Ambassador Signate said prior to the first round.
According to him, Wade is the only candidate who could bring democracy and development to the people of Senegal.
He advised the Senegalese nationals residing in The Gambia to maintain peace and cordial relationship after the election.
Mr. Josephen Menden, party agent for Idrissa Seck’s Rewmi Party said that he was confident that his party leader (Seck) would win the polls. He had also added that Secka had more supporters and is the “most popular” candidate than any of the presidential candidates in The Gambia
“In The Gambia, many Senegalese are supporting Seck’s party- Rewmi because Seck is the only candidate who can wipe the tears of Senegalese and restore democracy and good governance in Senegal,” was Menden’s view, adding many Senegalese residing in The Gambia are supporting Seck. He held that Seck could rule Senegal and transform it than any of the candidates vying for the presidency.
He has also told this paper that polls opened at 8: am, they did not encounter any problem.
“We are voting peacefully as we are nurturing maturity in the whole voting process and we hope and pray that polls end in peace,” Seck’s stalwart in the Gambia underlined.
At Serrekunda primary school polling station, Mr. Dem Sallah party agent for President Wade had said that since in the morning voting had been going peacefully; while noting that the voters have turned out in their large numbers to cast their votes. He also acknowledged that there was no problem encountered.
Sallah used the occasion to urge voters stay calm after the polls, saying that they are all one people but have different political affiliations; which he said is a constitutional right. He stated that many political parties had their party agents represented, and he acknowledged that voting at Serre kunda Primary school “is free and fair”. Mr.Abdou Ngum salutes the government of The Gambia for creating the conducive environment for them to cast their votes. According to him, the government has provided them with security forces. He then thanked President Yahya Jammeh, the people of the Gambia and the Senegalese Ambassador in The Gambia, saying that the Gambia is a peaceful country.
Asked about his position on President Wade decision to take part in the election, in reply, Mr. Ngum said that he is a party agent for Wade, adding that the Supreme Court of Senegal has ruled that Wade should run for the presidency.
“ I see no reason why he should not run for the president, as he is a qualified candidate, and in fact, he is going to win the polls,” he predicted. After voting, Ngum stated that there would be no violence in The Gambia as he put it, “The Gambia is a peaceful country and Senegalese living in the Gambia will exercise patience”.
Mr. Saidou Salifu Dibba, party agent for Ousmane Tanor Dieng-Socialist Party of Senegal, expressed that voting in Serrekunda Primary School was going smoothly. He said that there was no shortage of election materials, but added that not all the parties had their agents present.
Mr. Eliman Khan, Wade’s party agent at Serrekunda primary school blamed demonstrators in Senegal. He said that Senegal is known for its good record of democracy in West Africa. In West Africa, he said when we talk about democracy, Senegal is an example; but he was quick to blame the West as the ones ones inciting the violence in Senegal. Party agents and militants who spoke to our reporter during the voting process in Bakau, Kanifing and Serrekunda Primary School,all confirmed the peaceful nature of the voting process in their respective polling stations, and called for peace after elections.
It could be noted that 14 Presidential candidates had taken part in the first round of the Senegalese election with the incumbent Abdoulie Wade and Macky Sall emerging first and second, respectively. The two are due to contest the second rounds of that country’s Presidential polls come March 25, 2012.