Opposition Citizens’ Alliance has said it is still pushing for the Gambian diaspora to get registered to participate in the December 4 presidential election.

The Independent Electoral Commission earlier this month said there is no chance for the diaspora to get registered for the December poll due to existing laws. 

And the government also cited lack of finance.

Speaking at a monthly press conference, leader of the Citizens’ Alliance Dr Ismaila Ceesay, who just returned from his Germany tour, expressed disappointment over the issue.

“Most importantly with the registration. It is disheartening, we are disappointed, we don’t have words to express our anger for the fact that the Diaspora is not giving the chance to register and vote for this upcoming election,” Dr Ceesay said.

Meanwhile, he added: “we are still pushing ways to see how we can engage the IEC and the Government to see whether there is still a slim hope for the diaspora to vote.”

Dr Ceesay said they are still looking for ways to engage the authorities concerned for any breakthrough.

He also urged the electoral commission to extend the period beyond 11th July, citing some challenges, which it said delayed the processing of the cards.

“Time frame also I think is short. We are urging the IEC to extend the window of registration beyond 11th July. Is not possible to register all those who want to register within this short period. 

“We already have challenges in terms of long queues and we also have reports that in some areas, the machines are affected by high temperature. So, these are all challenges,” he said.

He said his party had called on the Independent Electoral Commission to provide a road map for diaspora voting.

“In 2018 we had a conference where we called the IEC, and I particularly told the IEC to provide a road map for diaspora voting. Elections are no child’s play. You need capacity, you need to prepare and plan well. 

“If you want a diaspora vote that should have been started three years ago, prepare a road map on how the diaspora will vote but you cannot wait until six months and you want the diaspora to vote,” Dr Ceesay said.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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