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Gambia Election 2021 Live Fact-Check – Day 1

Photo Credit: Herald-Whig 4 mins read
  • Claim: A viral WhatsApp message says ‘‘IEC is barring people without masks from voting.’’ 

True

Verification: Observers at Kerewan and Bakau confirmed that some voters were prevented from voting for not wearing face masks. However, the IEC Director of Communication, Pa Makan Khan, says it has not come to his attention. 

He said the wearing of face masks is a preventive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19. Polling agents are advised to enforce the measures but should not deter anyone without a face mask from their constitutional right of voting.

  • Claim: A Facebook post by Barrow Media Empowerment claims someone has closed the NPP  ballot drum, urging  IEE to take immediate action. 

Mostly False. 

Verification: According to Amie Singhateh, a constituency supervisor at Serekunda, nothing of such happened at the polling stations under her watch. Efforts to get comments from an IEC executive on the situation have been unsuccessful as they were unavailable to confirm or deny the situation. In addition, there wasn’t a specific polling station mentioned in the post to enable us track

  • Claim: A Facebook post by Barrow Media Empowerment claims that a popular Imam in The Gambia, Sheikh Imam Abdoulah Fatty, has warned Gambians against voting for the UDP.

False

Verification: Sheikh Imam Abdoulah Fatty has denied the claim.

“I didn’t make no such statement,” he told Dubawa.

He referred us to an audio he has released debunking the viral claim. Further analysis of the shared audio post shows the voice is not that of Imam Fatty.

  • Claim: An image in circulation with the name Kingsport claims the Director of Immigration, Mr. Touray, has sent a verbal order to the security officers stationed at border posts to leave the borders open and allow people to come in and out of the Gambia. 

False

Verification: The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Immigration, Mamanding S. Dibba, says the Director-General of the Gambia Immigration Department has not given such an order. 

‘‘I am not aware of any such directive issued by the DG. It is very funny news to me really,’’ he told Dubawa. 

He appealed to the security officers to continue their work and strictly guard the borders.

  • Viral audios claim the ballot drums of the UDP and NPP candidates, Ousainou Darboe and Adama Barrow, respectively, have been filled to capacity in some polling stations and have had to be replaced. One of such audios claims that the Upper Badibou Constituency Chairman, Lamin Bakotong Marong, said: “The UDP ballot drum was filled to capacity and was placed aside. A new one was placed in which people are voting.” 

False

Verification: The spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Pa Makan Khan says this is impossible. 

“To fill the ballot drum, you need over 10,000 marbles. This cannot be filled because we don’t have that number at a polling centre,” he said.

  • Social media users claim voting is still underway (at about 10:27pm Saturday night) in Sukuta despite the official closing of polling stations at 5 pm across the country.

True 

Verification: Observers at Election Watch confirmed to Dubawa that voting is still ongoing in Sukuta. According to the group, a number of voters were still in the queue at the official closing time. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) regulations stipulate that voters in the queue at 5:00pm must be allowed to cast their ballot.

  • Claim: A Facebook post shared about five hours ago, claims UDP are “occupying [the] IEC building to stop counting”.

False

Verification: Journalists, Yankuba Jallow and Kemi Busari, who have been at the IEC since yesterday say at no time did this happen. 

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