a youth development advocacy network recently held a community outreach
campaign to sensitize youth, women and political parties on election, low voter
turnout and youth and women political participation in five communities. The project is funded by the United States
Government through the International Republican Institute (IRI) aimed at
increasing participation in local government elections.
The event attracted twenty-five participants from each of the five communities – Tallinding, Busumbala, Sibanor, Kanilai and Bwiam. It engaged the participants on the importance of Local Government Elections (LGE), why women and youth should participate in LGE among other political issues such as rising political tensions in some communities.
Local Government Elections are some of the most significant elections in the country. This is because representatives in councils are the close to the citizens.
Activista programme assistant Ansumana Camara commended the US Government and IRI for supporting the initiative, describing it as very important. He encouraged the gathering to extend the message, as election is relevant in democratic level.
Community member of Sibanor Pa Badjie challenged the community members to participate effectively in politics. According him, political participation enhances democracy and accountability.
He made special emphasis on women and youth participation in politics, indicating that women and youth form over 60% of the country and challenged the Independent Electoral Commission to remain as independent as possible in the elections.
Bakary Anas Bojang of Bwiam said there is emergence of selective justice in the country’s new government, which, he said, is not encouraging for the promotion of democracy and reconciliation. “What is happening is not right in my opinion. There is selective justice. This is not good for our country, our democracy and even our reconciliation. All Gambians are equal so everyone must be treated the same.”
Mr. Bojang said everyone is talking about the killing of Solo Sandeng who was alleged to have been killed during former President Jammeh’s regime but nothing is being talked about Haruna Jatta who was also killed in Kanilai, recently. “A deaf ear is given about Haruna’s death. This is not fair,” he said.
A radio presenter at Bwiam Community Radio also emphasised on the need for people to come together and live peacefully to push the development agenda of this country. “The way some journalists are doing their work is not impartial. They exaggerate and make character defamatory about some people. These can compromise peace and security in the country.”