By Mustapha Jallow
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on Gambians to hold political leaders accountable by scrutinizing their party manifestos.
“When politicians come to your communities, ask them what their parties’ stand for. Ask them what they have put in place for young people, women and their communities?” said Ansumana Ceesay, NCCE’s Senior Programme Officer.
Ceesay said this during the end of a six-day nationwide outreach sessions organized by NCCE under the topic: “community dialogue initiative among women, youth and community leaders/structures.’’ The event was held at Nioro Jattaba, Kiang-West in Lower River Region (LRR) on 15th September 2021.
The discussion was centred on the roles of women and youth in governance and peace building. About 240 participants’ (Women, Young people & Community leaders) from selected regions benefited from the training sessions.
The civic awareness program was funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through the United Nations Peace-Building Fund (UNPBF) under the theme “Women and Youth Involvement in Governance and Peace-building, December Polls Focus.’’
“If we pick our leaders based on the law, they will deliver to us but without this, they will do whatever they want,” Ceesay said.
Ceesay said politics is not bad, but the ethnic diatribes and hate speeches peddled on social media platforms are not enticing citizens to partake in it, saying these platforms were made to ensure easy communications. He however said those platforms are now being abused by people to destroy each other.
“I call on you (participants) to do your political campaign peacefully in order to maintain the peace we have in this country. So, let’s all try to maintain peace so that the upcoming election will be conducted peacefully,” Ceesay advised.
Samba Bah, District Youth Chairperson for Kiang West, called on his fellow youths and community members not to allow politicians to use them.
“Every political leader is elected into office by young people and women. If they are elected into office, they forget about you and your community,” he said.
For example, he said there are lots of young people who are sitting without jobs, saying some have graduated with qualified documents but they do not still have jobs.
“The election is getting closer. We should not allow ourselves to be used by politicians to do something wrong or to engage in violence that will affect us and our communities,” Bah said.
Jasong Sanyang, a civic education officer, said considering the demographics of The Gambia, youth currently form more than 65 percent of the inhabitants of the country and women form over 52 percent.
Therefore, he added that their participation in peace building particularly during the election cycle is critical and needed.
“The foundation of every development in society is peace. It is the condition precedent. All other things to better and develop society stand on peace. That is why it is important to constantly work towards establishing a sustainable peace,” he said.