‘Gecom fully ready’
-Surujbally dismisses concerns raised by PPP/C commissioners
Gecom Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally yesterday dismissed a series of concerns raised on Saturday by the three PPP/C appointed commissioners about the electoral body’s readiness for local government elections (LGE).
In a lengthy response to the concerns raised by Mohamood Shaw, Dr Keshav Mangal and Athmaram Mangar, Surujbally said all that was necessary was for the Minister of Local Government to name a date for the LGE and this would trigger the phased rollout of Gecom’s six-month work plan including voter education.
The PPP/C government has come under intense pressure in recent months to call local government elections as there is no impediment in the way. However, the government and the ruling party have made a series of excuses which have been consistently rubbished by Gecom and other stakeholders. In light of Gecom’s previously enunciated position that it was ready, Saturday’s release of the statement by the PPP/C commissioners on the body came as a surprise but was seen as providing cover for the government to continue claiming that LGE could not be held.
Surujbally said that Gecom is “fully prepared and committed to move formally into an election mode with immediacy, if and when the Commission is mandated to conduct Local Government Elections.”
He said that it was worthy of note that each year, Gecom has been presenting LGE budgets, and Parliament had always approved funds for the conducting of Local Government Elections. The Commission has again budgeted for the conduct of polls this year and Parliament did give its approval, the Chairman said.