Election 2016: U.S. says it is committed to free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in The Gambia

Election 2016: U.S. says it is committed to free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in The Gambia

The United States will support credible, transparent and inclusive elections were freedom of speech, press and assembly are guaranteed with the people able to exercise their rights without fear of reprisal with a strong commitment to check voter apathy.

Marc Shaw, the U.S. Charge d’ Affaires advocated  the best way to prevent voter apathy in the West African nation of The Gambia is to create an enthusiastic and informed electorate through the media.

“One can’t deny that the media plays a vital part in the democratic process.  Its role must be understood and nurtured to enable it to deliver on its core mandates ­ informing and educating,” the diplomat said.

The United States has consistently urged the Gambia to open the democratic space and allow journalists to freely investigate, research, publish and share news, information and opinions on electoral matters.

The Gambia has seen a slight unrest and rare protests, followed by trials and imprisonment of opposition members, shaping up an uneasy political path to December presidential polls. At least two opposition detainees have died in state custody and the UN rights commission said Wednesday that there are reports many detainees are denied needed medical care and prominent opposition member Tina Faal was arrested twice after breaking away from the ruling party to the newly formed GDC.

The U.S. government has called for the fundamental rights of political opponents to be fully and unconditionally respected, and for all political parties to freely conduct their campaign activities without obstacle. It urged political leaders and actors to conform to best electoral practices, promote democratic values, and avoid any actions that will promote further chaos and violence.

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