By Makutu Manneh/Mustapha Jallow
The Nation Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has organized a national dialogue among security forces, youth, media and other stakeholders, to discuss peace and security challenges relating to elections. The objective of the engagement is to enhance mutual understanding and foster collaboration among the security services, youth, political actors and the media fraternity.
During the dialogue, the NCCE considered the possible challenges and threats to peace and security before, during and after the December 4th 2021 elections in the country, in a bid to combat these challenges.
Themed on ‘‘Building Cordial Relation Among Stakeholders to Preserve National Security in the 2021 Presidential Elections and Beyond’’, the event aims to promote the fundamentals of democracy, good governance, respect for the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms and the maintenance of peace and stability.
Alhagie Sering Fye, Chairperson of the NCCE, said every citizen has a role to play in the maintenance of peace and promoting the country’s democratic credentials.
Mr. Fye said stakeholders need to step up to tackle the use of abusive language, provocative actions, intimidation and confrontations during public discourse and in the media. He said the dialogue will create a platform for stakeholders to freely discuss peace and security challenges relating to elections.
“I would like to express our commitment as NCCE to continue facilitating dialogues of this nature to build harmony among all relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Halifa Sallah, Co-Chairperson of the Inter-Party Committee (IPC) said the education that the people should receive is to know that they are the only majority constituent of the country. He said the engagement is to interrogate the past and present in order to shape the future. Sallah said in the 2016 elections, it was the Gambian people who saved themselves and should be proud of themselves for this.
“The 2016 election cannot be compared to the one in 2021. Those who are afraid to face their past, future or present cannot be the architects of their own destiny. This country cannot afford Gambians fighting each other because we will lose our country in doing so,’’ he said.
The renowned politician outlined that political parties are the custodians of the political process and the IEC is the guardian of political parties and the NCCE is the interlocutor that should enable the nation to ensure electoral and constitutional legitimacy.
Alieu Momarr Njai, Chairperson of the IEC, said the Commission is committed to conducting an all-inclusive and peaceful electoral activity for the 2021 election.
“It is incumbent on all to nurture, preach and practice peace at all times, in the build up to the 2021 elections and beyond,” he said.
Alagie Jarju, Executive Director of the National Youth Council, said young people cannot be left behind in such discussions as they constitute the majority of the population. He said young people are victims and perpetrators of any violence in the country.
“Young people’s vision of peace and security should be recognized and this can be in such forums as they will be part and parcel of the discussion,” he said.
Jarju urged for youth participation in the resolution of peace and security.
Other speakers at the meeting were Musa Balajo, a representative from ECOWAS and Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA country representative, both of whom talked about the participation of women and young people in peace building, security and in election matters. The dialogue was supported by the United Nations Fund for Population Affairs (UNFPA).