Council for Civic Education (NCCE) Civic Education Officer, Ansumana Yabou said
the country cannot develop without the citizens having good knowledge on
democracy, governance, tolerance and reconciliation in coming together as one
Mr. Yabou made the remark recently, during their ongoing nationwide second phase tour on national dialogue on democratic governance, tolerance and reconciliation held in Kiang West and surrounding villages, organized by NCCE with support from ECOWAS.
The project aims to enhance better understanding and appreciation of democratic governance, civic rights, freedoms and duties as well as promote dialogue and reconciliation to ensure peaceful coexistence in the country as envisage in the national development plan.
He urged citizens to come out together and join hand on deck to work towards the development of the country.
For his part, Yusupha Bojang, Programme manager NCCE , said coming from two-decades of dictatorial rule characterized by poor governance, lack of democracy and abuse of human rights, it is evident that establishing and sustaining democratic rule could be quite challenging as being currently experience in the Gambia.
“There is a huge deficit in the understanding of democracy among the citizens thus resulting to lots of misconceptions, abuses, mistrust, intolerance and division along politics and tribal line, thus resulting to some isolated incidence of disturbance in different parts of the country.”
According to him, NCCE with support from ECOWAS deem it important to embark on a massive nationwide Sensitization Campaign, to enlighten the citizens especially the rural communities on the tenants of Democracy and Good Governance as well as promote dialogue and reconciliation to ensure peaceful coexistence in the country as envisage in the National Development Plan.
He said Gambians should remember that democracy is rooted on the principle of equality, thus it is the duty of every citizen to recognize each other’s sovereignty and live together as brothers and sisters.
He added that since every citizen’s view have a right to be expressed and listened to, differences are naturally likely to occur, adding that democracy relies upon open discussions, debate, persuasion and compromise when such diversity occurs, the use of force, intimidation, slander and provocation are threats to our young democracy and thus citizens are encourage to desist from such undemocratic acts.
“Tolerance and respect for the rule of law are very critical in the promotion of democracy, peaceful coexistence and social cohesion. Democracy calls for respect for the rule of law and therefore no situation should warrant taking the law into your own hands, as there are several legal mechanisms to utilize to peacefully access justice.”
He therefore, encourage all to learn to tolerate and respect each other and build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.