A high powered ECOWAS Elections Commission delegation has concluded a five day fact finding mission to the Gambia ahead of the December 4th election.
The fact establishing mission which began on Monday 2 August ended on Friday 6 August 2021.
The delegation on behalf of the President of ECOWAS Commission Jean Kassie Brou travelled to Banjul for a fact-finding mission on the presidential elections scheduled for December this year and to assess the potential traits for peace and security on the ground ahead of the polls.
The mission hosted by the ECOWAS Permanent Mission in The Gambia met all the relevant stakeholders including the Independent Electoral Commission, political parties, the Vice President of The Gambia, the Civil Society Organisations and all the state ministries related to elections.
Speaking to the media after the end of the mission at the ECOWAS Permanent Mission Headquarters in Bijilo, the head of the delegation and Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security General Francis A. BEHANZIN said the fact-finding mission also assessed the potential traits for peace and security.
“We are here like I said to assess the traits of peace and security for the election and we met many stakeholders,” the Head of Delegation BEHANZIN said. “We met the minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister Interior, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Women Affairs, the Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, Minister of Justice, the Vice President.”
He went on: “We also met the political parties, we met eight or ten political parties beginning with the principal parties, we tried to meet the 18 political parties to know what they need as support, moral support, political support. Sensitisation support to have peaceful, credible, transparent and acceptable election.
“And we met principally the Independent Electoral Commission to know their level of preparedness.
“We met also the Minister of Interior in presence of the IGP to know about the security matters and to know what are the problems.”
The Peace and Security expert BEHANZIN said the ECOMIG and the IGP are being out together to show the Gambian people that ECOMIG is here to secure the entire population of the country as a demonstration of a regional solidarity.
The ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs Dr. Aderemi Azibewa said “what we can take out of the whole process is that the people are prepared and they are appreciative of what ECOWAS office here has been doing especially the special representative.
“They also said they were happy that ECOWAS started coming on time,” adding that they urged for more visits ahead of the election.
Meanwhile the ECOWAS Special Representative to The Gambia Vabar K. Gayflor thanked the delegation ahead of what she described as “a very important event and process that will be obtaining in the Gambia that is the presidential elections.”
“You coming to the Gambia has just helped us to reveal and unveiled all of what many persons have been thinking about, their feeling what to Express about some concerns and I think the purpose for the mission has been quite successful.”
She said the mission in addition to meeting all the above mentioned stakeholders also met the international community especially the UN family even though it was done virtually.
She said the mission has given the feel of what is to be anticipated in the December election.