By: Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
Scores of Gambian youths have expressed their readiness to participate in the country’s political activities after witnessing arguably one of the highly contested presidential elections.
This has been proven in the recent December 4 presidential election which attracted the most voter turnout, making it a rousing and participatory election since independence in 1965.
In this said election, the participation of youths was nationally and internationally recognised by both local and international observers who monitored and observed the election describing it as ‘free, fair and transparent’.
Yankuba Sidat Ceesay, a resident of Lamin, acknowledged the youths for their efforts and services they offered during the election, adding that they were all eager to ensure that they elected a candidate that benefits the country.
“This election has really taught me a lesson and as well broadened my understanding that we (youths) are the pillars in driving the developmental tool of the nation. And I pledge to henceforth give a voice and encourage my fellow youths to partake in every decision-making concerning us and the nation at large,” Sidat said.
Mariama Camara, a fish monger at Brikama market, said that playing a part in elections manifests one’s right and helps a person to contribute to the public cause, adding that election is paramount because it determines who should steer our affairs to bring about development in the country.
“As a fish seller, if there should be any investment in the fishery sector which will obviously bring ease to our business, I will fully comprehend that it happens because of my single vote that I proudly cast,” she said.
Camara therefore urged all Gambian youths to start taking charge, which she said, can only be done through voting wisely in all elections.
Another concerned voter in Serrekunda, Bubacarr Jallow, said he voted to effect positive change and that Gambians should do away with tribal and colour-driven voting, which he said, will never bring development to the country.
Jallow added that Gambian youths should now be aware of the benefits of voting as he noted that it helps in the building of one’s self before any other.
“We should now refrain from giving voter apathy a chance or space in our voting system. Is high time for us to be fully part of decision-makers whether having a formal education or not. In every developed country, youths themselves are ready to effect change and not to allow themselves to wallow in self-pity and misery,” Jallow said.