By Mustapha Jallow
Residents of Nana Ba, Kumbanyi Fula and Kumbanyi Mandinka in Niamina West District, were on Tuesday urged to desist from violence and foul words against others’ political party, ahead of the November 7th 2020 by-elections on the vacant position of National Assembly in Central River Region (CRR).
The residents of the District who will soon head to the polls to elect their new representative for the vacant seat of National Assembly Member fot the Constituency and new Councilor for Kerr Jarrga Ward, prompted the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) to engage the local residents and enlighten them on the significance of the by-election, but most importantly, to sensitize them on the rules, regulation and code of conduct of the election as per the Elections Act, to make it violent-free during and after the elections. The theme for the awareness campaign is: “Entrenching civic awareness for increase election participation.’’
Musa Modou Jagne, a civic educator with the NCCE said their mission is not meant for politics but to sensitize villagers on the law, duties and rights of the voter during and after the elections.
Jagne said the law has empowered each citizen in Niamina West who has attained 18 years and has registered as a voter, to know where to put cast their votes and called on them to vote on time.
Jagne advised them not to engage in violence against other party supporters during the campaign and election period and to avoid using provocative words on pictures, t-shirts, loudspeakers, drums and banners.
In his opening statement, the Program Manager of NCCE Yusupha Bojang, said his office deemed it prudent to roll out a massive sensitization to enlighten the voters in these areas, on their civic rights and duties for them to understand the importance of the by-election in their areas; that the NCCE is aware of the concerns put forward by villagers regarding polling stations.
The Program Officer of NCCE Ousman Bah said the mandate of their institution is to educate citizens on their rights and duties and reminded residents on the demise of their former MP in January. He stated that the National Assembly seat was empty for months when the law has empowered them to conduct by-election for another representative for them at House.
Bah continued to explain that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has already selected a date for the by elections in Niamina West for the community to vote in the person who will represent them at the National Assembly; that during the presidential elections, people used to come in large numbers to cast their votes. But that in the case of National Assembly election, it has always been a low turn-out. He urged them to come out and vote for their choice.
Mai Jallow, a resident of Kumbanyi Fula said the civic education is timely, but that they face some challenges with their Alkalos.
Saikou Sawaneh, the Alkalo of the community said people should not allow politics to divide them because some people usually come with different intentions during elections.
Similar message from the NCCE Officers were delivered at Nana Ba and Kumbanyi Fula communities.
Ebrima Bah, the Community Assistance head said civic education has brought changes within their community in terms of raising their awareness level. He however advised communities to desist from the politics of foul words and tribal sentiments ahead of the Niamina by Elections.
Sainey M. Bah, a youth resident of the village said such politics of foul words and tribal sentiments during past presidential and parliamentary elections happened in the District causing many people not to vote.
The awareness campaign will last for ten days as they continue their engagements with the communities of Dalaba, Sare Saidu, Papa, Jawlaba villages, etc., in Niamina West.