By Mustapha Jallow
Alhagie Sering Fye, the Chairperson of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), has urged Councillors to work towards addressing challenges gripped by their communities and avoid being driven by partisan politics.
“While politics is seen by many as a zero-sum game, we should realise that our people voted because they need development, and we should discuss the challenges of our people and how to address them in a very objective manner without in any way being influenced or driven by partisan politics,’’ he advised.
Fye made this statement during the conclusion of a UNFPA / Gambia-funded training of Councillors in Bakau with key council staff on operational legal instruments and the decentralization policy.
Organised by NCCE, the session brought together Councillors, staff from Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), Banjul City Council (BCC), leaders of the NCCE and representatives from UNFPA.
Chairperson Fye further expressed how local governments play an important role in the country’s socio-economic development and democratic governance, and said there is still limited capacity and awareness on the laws underpinning decentralization, despite having local governments in the country.
“I would also like to register my sincere gratitude to the UNFPA for supporting this very important training under its Human Security Project. UNFPA has indeed proven to be a reliable partner to the NCCE. They have been very supportive over the years, enabling us to fulfil our mandate and increase our footprint across the country,” Mr. Faye said.
Mrs. Ndeye Rose Sarr, the UNFPA representative in the Gambia, spoke about the need for local Councils to empower their communities especially women and girls, in ensuring that they are free from any forms of violence, adding that the basic needs of their constituents must be safeguarded.
She tasked councillors to always reflect on how to improve their people’s livelihoods and dignity and to ensure that there is inclusivity.
“We must act collectively to address the economic and environmental impact of their lives,’’ UNFPA’s representative told Councillors.
For his part, Abdou Aziz Dabakh Gaye, the Deputy Mayor for Banjul City Council expressed that there should be effective governance at the local level to ensure that there is transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation.
“It is our responsibility to understand and uphold these instruments, as they guide our decisions and actions in serving communities. So, to my fellow council members, whether re-elected or newly elected, together we can have the opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on the lives of our fellow citizens as well as shape the future of our communities for the better,’’ a Council representative told the gathering.