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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Gambia’s marble voting system unique,
efficient: AU election observation chief  

BANJUL (Xinhua) -- The marbles and drums voting system in the Gambia is very unique and efficient with chances of being almost mistake free, Terry Tselane, head of the African Union Election Observation Mission to the Gambia, said in an interview with Xinhua.

“Some people think using marbles and drums is a rudimentary system but one can begin to appreciate if you are exposed to how effective and efficient the system is, and I am impressed,” Tselane said, after observing the final polling station in Bakoteh, some minutes after the closing time 5 p.m. on Thursday.

“I think it makes counting much more easier for electoral staff because if you look at the mistakes that normally happen in the electoral process they happen during counting when the majority of electoral staff are tired because they have been working since in the early hours until very late,” he said.

Tselane said unlike the marble system, the paper ballot system is a process that can take far longer time before the counting will even start.

“The process is very transparent and fair and I think what will be concluded at the scene here will truly reflects the will of the people. We are satisfied with the process in which things were run.” he said.

“The Electoral Commission has done an outstanding job. Amazingly, so soon after the voting they have actually almost done with the counting the votes. This is a record in terms of all the elections I have observed in my life,” said the seasoned observer who has observed elections throughout the continent.

Tselane, who is also the Vice Chairperson of South Africa Electoral Commission, said in all the voting stations that they visited in the Gambia they had never encountered any challenges and that all other players also found the process to be fair.

“There were no complaints at all. We chat with the political representatives as well as other observers and there were no one who actually complained about the process and everybody was just satisfied with the way things went,” he said.

Tselane gave credit to the Electoral Commission as well as to the people of the Gambia. He said since 2011 the AU had observed elections in the Gambia and they have decided again to come and observe this election.

“We have a team in the Gambia since the Presidential election and they are familiar with the terrain and process which makes it easier for them to deploy their teams in various parts of the country,” he said.

He said his mission has deployed 22 teams in which two people are monitoring each 7 regions of the country.

He assured that the AU will continue to observe the post-election in the Gambia which, according to him, is an integrity of the process. He said they deemed it fit to be on the ground to observe the situation to avoid only relying on the media and other people.

The AU will release its preliminary observation report on Saturday.

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