Gambia hosts synergy on Inclusive Politics for Women, Youth

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Gambia is hosting a five-day capacity building training for women, youth, civil society organization and persons with disabilities brought by Westminster Foundation for Democracy in collaboration with the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy Programme.

The training, which commenced on Monday, aim to promote inclusive and accountable politics across commonwealth countries. The training brought representatives from major political parties in the UK to engage with Gambian political parties.

It targets to share learning from each other on how to build effective and inclusive political parties with robust structures and processes.

Chairman of Independence Electoral Commission, Alieu Momarr Njai said election is recognised by many as the bedrock of popular participatory democracy.

He said elections and electoral democracy have become critical issues in the public domain and allows people to participate in the running or management of public affairs.

“The IEC as arbiter in the electoral field of play will continue to endeavor to ensure a level playing field for all political parties.”

 Senior Commonwealth programme officer of WFD, Sonia Sangra said political inclusion is important in democracy and women, youth and people with disabilities should have equal rights and opportunities to engage with and contribute to the functions of institutes and processes.

She said the Commonwealth partnership for democracy is tasked with working to support political parties in The Gambia, to strengthen government system and leadership capacity building.

Amadou Camara, representative of the minority leader of the National Assembly said in most party structures, women has been relegated to ‘women wings,’ where their influence in key decision-making organs is marginal. “When it comes to taking major decisions or running for competitive positions within the political parties, youth, women, and differently abled people are not given any priority,” he said.

He further said that one of the barriers increasing women participation is failure to implement affirmative action politics that seek to promote the inclusion of women in their party hierarchies. “The solution to this problem can be multifaceted, even though we recognise the fact that there is a need to enact laws to empower youth, women and persons with disabilities within the political parties and also accept them in our political party structures.”

Author: Fatou Dem