Gambia: Opposition leader makes fresh rigging claims

Gambia: Opposition leader makes fresh rigging claims

A Gambian opposition leader, Mama Kandeh is claiming his party is a victim of electoral fraud in last month’s parliamentary polls and may challenge results in the Supreme Court.

Kandeh’s GDC party, which just turned a year old won an impressive five parliamentary seats, by Gambian standards, less than four months after losing a bid to secure the presidency.

The former parliamentarian accused electoral officers of filling in the ballot boxes of the UDP party’s candidates with marbles to help them secure an absolute majority.

“We have proof of that because we confiscated some marbles from some of their polling staff,” said Kandeh, who also reported of marbles being taken from the boxes of an NRP candidate and filled into that of a UDP opponent.

“I will take the last polling station to be counted in Sandu as an example, where they took NRP’s 73 votes and added them to UDP’s 11 votes and that was repeated in many places.”

Gambia has a unique voting system. Marbles are dropped into boxes filled with sawdust in the bottom of painted barrels. The marbles hit a bell as a drop, notifying polling officers that a ballot has been cast.

Kandeh won 17% of the votes in the December presidential polls. Real estate developer, Adama Barrow defeated Kandeh and autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh after he was backed by seven opposition parties and an independent candidate.

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