The United Nations Development Program in The Gambia said it has allocated USD $350,000 for electoral support to The Gambia from 2016-2018.
Elections in The Gambia require substantial financial resources and there are no indications yet of the level of budgetary support from the government to the electoral commission’s financial request of $5 million.
The UN said the funds are in response from The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission, which made a request for aid after the UNDP made a needs assessment mission.
The electoral commission is hoping its traditional donors: the European Commissions and the British and U.S. governments with contributions from Turkey and Qatar will come through to respite it of the financial constraints they face.
The U.S. and British governments called for inclusive participation in the polls urging civic education and freedom of the press to be guaranteed.
The UNDP fund will support civic and voter education, training of voter registration personnel, strengthening of the Inter Party Advisory Committee as a forum for dialogue and conflict management, building the capacity of potential women candidates for elective office, capacity development for the media on elections coverage and civil society observation of polls.
At least two opposition figures have died in custody after protests for electoral reform stormed the nation in April. The Gambia has come under sharp criticism from the international community for jailing more than 50 opposition supporters including the main opposition UDP’s leader Ousainou Darboe.
The UNDP said it expects the IEC to perform regular consultations and share information with political parties order to reduce tensions, manage emerging conflicts, enhance mutual trust and foster greater public accountability and transparency through close collaboration with the Inter-Party Advisory Committee.