Bakary Badjie one of the aspirants for Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council in next year’s local government election is leading calls for the head of the country’s electoral commission to clarify his recent comments on the residency requirement for mayoral aspirants.
During a press conference last week, Alhaji Momarr Njai, chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), whilst outlining the qualifications needed for people seeking public office at the local government level said mayoral aspirants must have resided in the area for at least the last 12 months before nomination day.
Mr Badjie said Njai’s comments have caused worries and confusion among supporters of candidates who had lived abroad over the past year or years.
“Already, there are some adversaries who have taken advantage of this error on the side of IEC to tell electorates that this and that candidates are ‘not qualified’. In the interest of fair play, IEC needs to issue a statement to clarify and outline the correct qualifications as per the Local Government Act 2002, as amended,” he said
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Badjie, who recently returned to the country from the United States and is widely tipped to win the election added: “The Local Government Act stipulates in section 17 (1) a person qualifies to be elected or nominated as member of the Council if he or she;- Paragraph (C) is ordinarily resident in the Local Government Area in which he / she seeks election.
“To clarify what ‘ordinarily resident’ means, the Act, in the same section 17 (2) mentioned the following –“For the purpose of paragraph (C) of subsection (1) of this section, a person shall be deemed to be ordinarily resident in a Local Government Area if, within the four years, prior to the holding of the elections or his /her nomination to the council, he /she has lived in the area for an aggregate period of not less than 12 months”.
He added that prior to launching his mayoral bid, him and his campaign team had made research on the requirements and consulted widely, including the legal aspect and by this.
He assured Gambians especially his supporters that he is not affected by any election law, neither any section of the Local Government Act, more so on length of residency, which in subsection 4 of section 17, was lifted for people seeking chairpersonship of councils.