Hon Sharka Musa Samato
December 9, 2021

A Member of the Sierra Leone Parliamentary delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Sharka Musa Samato who observed the Gambia presidential election has said that he did not observe any violence or vote-rigging.

He was also part of the ECOWAS Commission’s Election Observation Mission (EOM) that was in Gambia.

According to the provisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001), His Excellency Jean Claude Kassie-Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission deployed an Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the presidential election as part of the ECOWAS support to the democratic process in the country of The Gambia with a core team of four experts, twelve long term observers, and sixty-two short term observers.

Explaining his observations of the presidential election in The Gambia, Sama said, he we can only report from the polling stations that I covered or  on the polling center where I was assigned, five polling centers.

“I only witnessed counting in the polling center which I visited. They are still using the marble system. I realized that it was very fast to count. I know and can testify that the counting was transparent and I did not see any sign of vote-rigging in those centers,” Sama said.

He added that none of his colleague observers also reported observing vote-rigging or malpractice in the process, or acts of violence, emphasizing that, “ when we had the debriefing session on the 5th December 2021, no observer reported  that there was violence or vote rigging.”

 In the observation of the ECOWAS Mission, we saw that the election was peaceful, but it is not for me to comment further on whether the elections were credible or not, that is the job of the Head of Observer Mission to give the final comment.

On the issue of acceptability of the outcome of the election that saw incumbent President Adama Barrow winning reelection and the disposition of the ECOWAS before, during, and after the elections, Hon. Sama said,   “ECOWAS did very well.”

He further said contrasting views are always going to emerge from election observations, noting that, when one looks  at a country’s population, you have politicians and leaders of political parties and the voters who belong to different political parties. Naturally, those whose political parties won will accept the outcome of the election, and those who lose, some of them will have questions to ask, that is natural.