Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The I.E.C Chairman should exit gracefully

Alhaji Mustapha Carayol was on the ground floor when Yaya Jammeh and his army buddies seized power illegally in 1994.  He was appointed Member of the Provisional Independent Electoral Commission (P.I.E.C).  He transitioned from the P.I.E.C to the substantive Independent Electoral Commission (I.E.C).

In 2000, he was appointed Vice Chairman of the I.E.C, and he subsequently became Chairman in 2006 which should have been his late appointment to serve on the I.E.C.  However, in October 2011, the I.E.C Chairman revealed to the press that his mandate had been renewed for another 7-year term by Jammeh effective 15th October 2011 in contravention of the Constitution to the utter dismay of many.

Section 42 (4) of the 1996 Constitution states: " Subject to the provisions of this section, the members of the Commission shall be appointed for a period of seven years, and may be re-appointed for one further term provided that three of the four members (who shall be appointed by lot ) for lesser period than seven years in order to provide continuity within the Commission."  By any measure, and by any and all legal interpretation, Mr. Carayol has served over sixteen years as Member of the P.I.E.C and the I.E.C in contravention of the Constitution.  He has served almost as long as Yaya Jammeh has occupied the State House.

Mr. Mustapha Carayol is a 'Banjul Elder' who hails from Haddington Street.  He was a civil servant who served as dresser dispenser at the Royal Victoria Hospital.  He received further training in Ghana and retired honorably as Head of Anesthesiology.  He was already a retired civil servant when he was tapped to serve in the Provisional Independent Electoral Commission and finally to the Independent Electoral Commission.

The various political parties have made it clear that they will not participate in any future elections under the prevailing conditions.  Mr. Carayol is serving illegally and unconstitutionally, and as long as Jammeh maintains him in the position, the political parties will boycott any and all future elections.  Rather than being the focal point of an impending controversy, it is advisable that Mr. Carayol retire gracefully.

Mr. Carayol should not allow himself to be used as a pawn in the fight to free Gambia from Jammeh's dictatorship.  It is more than enough to have served this regime since 1994 to date.   He is old enough and experienced enough to know that it is time for him to exit gracefully and in a dignified fashion.   Too much damage has been done to The Gambia by the present regime - a damage that requires time and space for national reconciliation so that meaningful reconstruction of all facets of Gambian life can begin to take place. A graceful exit by Mr. Carayol will spare Gambians of one less painful preoccupation that has to be addressed.