By Momodou Jarju
Salama Njie, the National Coordinator of the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) The Gambia, has hinted that the inadequate space for political dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation process continue to show threat to peace and stability ahead of the forthcoming election cycle.
She remarked: “The limited space for political dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation continue to threaten peace and stability ahead of 2021/2023 election cycle.”
Madam Njie made the remarks on Monday marking the International Day of Peace organized by the Office of the President Directorate of Strategic Policy and Delivery and the National Youth Council in partnership with the UN System and other key stakeholders held via Zoom platform under the theme ”Shaping Peace Together.”
She added that the persistent land disputes, protest and demonstration as well as increased sexual and gender based violence are cause for concerns.
“At this point, I would love to underscore the need to advance course of the ongoing reforms processes such as the constitutional, legal, electoral, security sector, civil service to mention but a few to respond to the aforementioned challenges,” she said.
Madam Njie said a possible respond to the threat to peace and security is the establishment of National Infrastructure for Peace as articulated in The Gambia’s Conflict and Development Analysis 2018 and updated in 2019.
“For example the conflict and development analysis has pointed out the need to infuse process oriented, gender and conflict sensitive, conflict management capacities into the dispute resolution rapporteur of chiefs and Alkalolu and other religious leaders to included gender concepts awareness and generation specific cultural issues,” she explained.
“And the need for political and traditional leaders to make reasonable efforts, publicly endorse national unity while publicly discrediting and abandoning any behavior that promote ethnic political discrimination, encouraging co-existence initiatives…national development initiative, to ethicize politics and depoliticize ethnicity in all negative forms.”
Speaking further, Madam Njie said the recent brown table conference of national and international partners also strongly recommended for an establishment of an infrastructure for peace and setting up of a technical working group to pave the way for an all-inclusive, independent and Gambian own infrastructure for peace.
She added that an independent peace and social cohesion commission or council will go a long way in shaping peace in this country.
“So far, this is what has been advanced and expanded by the invaluable support of the UNDP under output 3 of the UNDP consolidating democratic governance in The Gambia 2018/2021 under the auspices of a project team led by the Minister of Interior, Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery office of the president and WANEP The Gambia.” she said.
Madam Njie also appealed to the government to continue to give them the necessary support to expedite the aforesaid process.
“WANEP believes that the relevance of International Day of Peace lies in holistic approach and sustainable efforts of all relevant stakeholders in shaping and achieving peace together in The Gambia,” she said. —