The Gambian opposition parties have rejected attempts to postpone diaspora voting for the December 4 presidential election due to lack of funds. 

Last week the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Mambury Njie told a parliamentary committee that there was no funds for diaspora voting as it was not included in the budget estimates for 2021. 

But opposition parties have expressed their disagreement with the government’s decision and made their positions clear during a one-day review summit of the Election Bill with parliamentarians and officials from the Independent Electoral Commission.

PDOIS Information Secretary Sam Sarr

told the summit: We should not sell out sovereignty just to conduct elections,” adding that “citizens have the right to vote and their votes should be protected. 

“We totally opposed the postponement of the diaspora voting and I urge the government and IEC to re-check this decision.”

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of the biggest opposition party, United Democratic Party, said: “The diaspora had contributed a lot in the development of this country and laws made should be implemented without doing so as of no use to the Gambians.”

“We have to invest in our democracy. The Gambian diaspora has contributed immensely to The Gambia and they should have a say in the government which governed the affairs of the states,” he added

Representative of the Gambia Democratic Congress, Amadou Kah, said: “the diaspora people should be given the right to vote because they contribute their resources to the country’s affairs.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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