By Mustapha Jallow
The Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) Gambia has commenced a regional dialogue with community members on peace building ahead of the Presidential election slated for 4th December 202, barely five years after former President Yahya Jammeh was voted out of office.
The nationwide outreach, which started on 11th October, was part of an effort to strengthen awareness creation on peace building for community members during elections.
The regional dialogue was meant to sensitize the communities on three themes, namely security, peace and developments. It was held under the topic:” Promoting security sector responsiveness and accountability in the framework of elections in The Gambia.”
Funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by DCAF, the five-day session was also attended by governors, district chiefs, Alkalolu, elders, youths, police commissioners, national security council adviser and other stakeholders.
“I challenge you (youths) to behave well and not to sacrifice yourselves because of politics. Remember, politics come and go but people stay. So therefore, we need to be careful in the way we do politics as youths of this country. Everybody has the right to vote for any political party of their choice, but that should not warrant them to misbehave during the campaign,” said Police Commissioner Anusumana Kinteh while delivering his welcoming speech at Kerewan.
Speaking further, commissioner Kinteh underscored the role of the security in ensuring that there is public peace and order. He said the police are ever ready to ensure that life and properties are safe in this country.
He therefore used the opportunity to thank organisers for embarking on the regional dialogue in a bid to sensitise citizens, especially those in rural communities on the importance of peace-building and the role of the security in the maintenance of peace in society.
Mr. Lamin Saidykhan, the Governor of North Bank Region, commended the organisers for the advocacy program and sensitising his community members on the relevance of peace building, especially at this period of the elections cycle.
Saidykhan also said everyone has the right to vote for any political party but urged all and sundry not to allow politics to be use by anyone to sow seeds of disunity among Gambians. He also talked about the need for community consultation with their district authority and village development committee as well as women mobilisers. He also talked about how to maintain peace in the country.
The Governor also spoke at length about the danger of misusing social media, saying if it is used wrongly; it could impact negatively on society He said: “The election is not far; I therefore call on you (Gambians) to preach peace.”
Fabala Fadia Kinteh, Chief of Lower Badibou, said the engagement was a step in the right direction and he therefore challenged Gambians to work to ensuring that the election would be free from violence.
“I advise you (fellow community members) to continue nurturing and adopting peace in our society and this is fundamental,” said Langkanteh Singhateh, the Alkalo of Sabba, deputising the Alkalo of Kerewan.