By Ndey Sowe
Concerned Gambians from diverse backgrounds dubbed “Open Society Forum The Gambia” (OSFG) have launched voter registration campaign amid the upcoming 4th December 2021 presidential election.
The launching marks the beginning of the sensitization program that will actively encourage citizens to register and exercise their franchise.
The ceremony took place on Thursday, 4th February, 2021 at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, Kanifing.
Aminta John-Wadda, President for Open Society Forum The Gambia (OSFG) said their group is a non-partisan and inclusive organization that advocates for citizens to participate in the democratic dispensation process of the country.
She remarked: “This is a historical event since it is not led, directed or encouraged by any political group, but by concerned Gambians who see the need to encourage youths and the dispirited to participate in the selection of their leaders.”
She said in any participatory democracy, voting is a civic duty and a constitutional right whereby citizens do exercise their fundamental rights in electing their officials to serve them in various capacities.
“We aim to support women, youths, marginalized, disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens in various communities to exercise their franchise,” she said.
Alieu Momar Njie, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairman, said the campaign is timely considering the forthcoming voter registration and other key electoral activities that IEC plans to roll out soon.
“Such a forum is very important as it would enable voter education personnel to effectively take on their roles and responsibilities,” he said.
Chairman Njie said the IEC has an open-door policy and it would be pleased to collaborate with all other partners and stakeholders in the electoral process.
“It is also important to take note of the presence of the Covid-19 pandemic and take necessary measures to protect yourself and others,” he said.
Yusuf Taylor, Youth Representative, said registering every single Gambian that will turn 18 years by December 4th 2021, is not a small task and they need to mobilize all the resources they can to achieve success in this venture.
Taylor thus urged all Gambians to spend time now to search for their official documents and ensure that they get the right resources together so that every eligible voter is registered and not left behind.
Banka Manneh, Diaspora Representative, urged the IEC to ensure they use everything in their powers to enfranchise the diaspora so that they can vote.