Saturday, July 31, 2021

Gambians urged to hold their elected leaders accountable

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By Mustapha Jallow

Senior official of the National Council for Civic Education’s (NCCE) has on Tuesday called on residents of  Kan-Mamudou, a community in Foni, to hold their elected leaders accountable.

Ansumana Yabou said holding elected leaders accountable will ensure development which will benefit their communities.

Mr. Yabou made the remarks in the ongoing six-day massive awareness campaign on democratic governance, civic rights and duties of a citizen organized by NCCE in collaboration with The Association of Non-Government Organisations (TANGO) and funded by United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). 

The awareness raising is part of NCCE’s efforts towards cultivating a safe and cheerful democratic environment in the country to ensure sound governance, enhance public accountability, civic rights and increase the level of citizen participation, held under the theme: “Consolidating good governance and human rights in The Gambia.

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Mr. Yabou urged them to change their old thoughts of sitting at home and do nothing after voting but they should instead keep their eyes open and hold their elected leaders to account for their interest.

He underscored the need to strengthen democracy in communities to enhance accountability and transparency in the country.

“I make it clear in my statement that after electing their leaders in power, they usually forget to hold them to account. So they prefer to go home and sit till next election,’’ he said. 

“So, when you elect leaders into the power and they are not providing anything, it’s community’s rights or responsibility to hold them to accountable.’’

He further said sometime citizens do not bother to tell their leaders what is expected from them even though their rights are not fulfilled, saying the elected leaders are service bearers and they are there to serve the interest of the people.

NCCE senior official also said some people had the fear in mind to hold their elected leaders to account, which is the reason why when they vote they will abandon politics and wait for the next polls and do the same.

 “For our nation to progress, we need to hold our duty bearers to account. The positions of the presidency, national assemble, chairpersons and councilors all belong to the Gambian people,’’ he said.

Yabou said the reason why they elected in office is to solve the needs of the people, such as improving the agricultural sector, provide good health services, provide better road conditions, provide stable electricity facilities and quality education.    

He said communities should inform the President currently on tour about issues affecting their livelihood and their communities. This, he added, include other elected leaders.

“If farming is affecting them or they have a problem to sell their products, this is a great opportunity to ask the President about this and not only farming but other issue because is a better chance,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Yabou described the outreach campaign as successful because the attendants and the feedbacks from residents impressed them.

“Each person has a voice in the country. No tribe owns the country, especially the needs of people should be addressed,’’ he said. 

Bakary Manjang, the Alkalo of Kanmamudou, expressed his concern over the misuse of democracy and politics, which he said had made him to prefer dictatorship over democracy.

Manjang said the meeting was timely, while urging NCCE to increase the awareness campaign because according him, democracy has destroyed the country.

Tabora Sambou, the head of the community’s women group, is pleased to have gained more awareness, especially about democracy. She thanked NCCE for urging them to continue to hold their elected leaders to account even after voting.

“We will now follow them since they are {have} our voters,” she said.

The civic education campaign started on 11 December, 2020 and is expected to end on 16th December 2020 in Kombos. The Council targeted six communities across Upper River Region, Central River Region, Lower River Region, and West Coast Region.

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