Monday, October 3, 2016

Municipal and Area Councils verbally directed by Jammeh's APRC to finance campaign activities

Participants at the Basse jamboree 
The ruling APRC party organized an all expense paid national youth jamboree in Basse to kick off the 2016 December presidential elections at the expense of Gambian taxpayers. .

The jamboree billed as the National Youth Rally was financed by Municipal and Area Councils.  The official mouthpiece of the regime, The Daily Observer's account of the "pomp and fanfare" can be accessed here.  The act is illegal and contravenes the electoral laws, further tilting an already uneven playing field in favor of Yaya Jammeh and his party.

According to a source, verbal directives went out to all Municipal and Area Councils from the APRC Bureau instructing them to finance the mobilization costs in their respective administrative areas - a directive that will further aggravate a dire fiscal position these Area Councils have been in for decades.

These Councils are for all intense and purposes bankrupt entities that struggle on a monthly basis to meet payroll, much less provide basic services to area residents.

It is reported that thousands of APRC Party delegates comprising of mainly youth and women from all over the country are being transported, housed, fed and entertained by local councils at the expense of the tax and rate payers who are primarily farmers who are struggling to make ends meet in an increasingly hostile economic environment.

To quote our source, "all (8) Councils were issued with a state directive to foot the bill" which is not only "a gross misuse of public funds but unfair to the opposition parties.

It is the duty of the opposition parties - individually and collectively - to draw the attention of the Independent Electoral Commission and other interested parties by lodging formal complaint about these gross violations of the electoral laws.  Since it is the rates and taxes that farmer pay that are being abused, opposition parties should also highlight them during their political rallies and also disseminated through community radios across the country.