National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) on 30 November 2017, held a daylong
seminar for youth organisations, CSOs, journalists among others on civic
rights, and duties of citizens in democracy.
The seminar under the theme ‘promoting adherence to the rule of law for a just and peaceful society’ was held at the Gambia Pastoral Institute (GPI) conference hall on Kairaba Avenue.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Alh Sering Faye, NCCE Chairman, said in executing the legal mandate as a framework for its activities, the NCCE has been enlightening citizens to cultivate an environment of democratic continuity in The Gambia that would enable all citizens irrespective of gender, age, religion or political affiliation, to participate fully in the governance and development process of the country.
Mr Faye added that the convergence aimed at enhancing citizens’ understanding of their civic rights and responsibilities in a democracy in-line with the constitution and other legal instruments, noting that this they believe would help address lots of issues they are currently witnessing in the country.
He pointed out that there are areas of misconception and misinterpretation of democracy, rights and freedom in this new dispensation called the New Gambia, which if not properly addressed could threaten the peaceful coexistence The Gambia is known for.
Chairman Faye said: “As citizens we should understand that the country belongs to all irrespective of whatever affiliation one may identify yourself with”.
He said the fact that sovereignty of the republic resides in the people means all Gambians are equal before the law and no one’s right is more valuable than the other, hence they should learn to respect each other.
He highlighted that democracy is not a system that gives the people whatever they demand at a given moment, or in the shortest possible time, but one that secures the conditions for their influence and control over their government on an ongoing basis.
Ndey Tapha Sosseh, in deputising for Demba A. Jawo, Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, told the participants that participating in such seminars would not only increase their knowledge on their role as citizens but would also arm them with the tools needed to take on leadership positions.
She added that citizens, particularly youth engagement is key to government’s success.
She commended NCCE that has over the years, particularly at a time when the terrain was so hostile, championed the cause of citizen engagement across the country.
Lamin Darboe, Executive Director of National Youth Council spoke on the role of youth in promoting responsible behaviors in a democracy.
The Gambia Press Union President, Emil Touray, dilated on responsible media reporting in emerging democracies.