Monday, February 23, 2015

Strategic Plan (2015 -2019) of the Independent Electoral Commission : What's in it?

The Chairman of the IEC recently presented to the Joint Committee of the National Assembly its Strategic Plan 2015 - 2019 during which he assured the Joint Committee Members that the "IEC will evolve into an efficient and effective institution that is adequately staffed and resourced." 

The Chairman also said in connection with the preparation of the Strategic Plan, the touted its "comprehensiveness to enable it address its current challenges." Appropriate mechanisms and structures, the Joint Committee was told, have been incorporated in the Plan but would require resources (both local and foreign) to successful implementation.

But even before we talk about implementing a Strategic Plan by an institution supposedly established to guarantee free, fair and transparent elections, we must ask ourselves who was involved in developing the Strategic Plan in the first instance.  Were opposition parties involved in its preparation?  What of civic society groups?  What of ordinary citizens?  What about the international organizations?  I recall the Chairman telling the Joint Committee that external resources would be needed to conduct future elections.

A Strategic Plan MUST demand the active participation of ALL stakeholders in its preparation.  Otherwise it should be considered null and void.  It is knots and bolts issues like this that political parties should concern themselves and not attempts at trying to appease a dying regime.  

It is, therefore, incumbent on all political parties and members of civic/civil societies and, indeed ordinary Gambians to demand a seat at the table to design the Plan together.  Experience have shown that the IEC cannot and should not be left to its own devices.