President Adama Barrow has led Gambian voters out early on Saturday to cast votes in mayoral elections in the capital Banjul and across the country’s municipalities.
Figures from the Independent Electoral Commission suggest that over 800, 000 Gambians are registered to vote in mayoral elections for the country’s seven municipalities namely Banjul, Kanifing, Brikama, Kerewan, Mansa Konko, Jangjangbureh and Basse.
38 candidates are in the race to head such municipalities, to close Gambia’s election cycle which began with presidential elections in December 2016, followed by National Assembly and Local councillorship elections in April 2017 and April 2018 respectively.
Voting for the mayoral elections with marbles started as early as 7 8 a.m. with President Barrow and First Lady casting their votes in Yarambamba, where the Gambian leader maintains his private residence, 15 km outside Banjul.
Aside from the presidential poll, voter turnout in subsequent elections has been poor, prompting concern from the IEC to educate Gambians about the need to exercise their right to choose their representatives at local level.
Speaking to reporters on the issue shortly after casting his vote, President Barrow wearing a flowing white robe, said exercising such a civic right by him was a way of leading Gambians by example.
“As we vote for councils, people who would represent us in those councils that collect our taxes, I think it is important to decide who should take responsibility for it” he said.
‘We contested elections based on the principle of democracy and so we want to ensure that democracy continues” he added.