phase of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) on sensitisation of
communities on democracy is currently underway in the Central River Region
(CRR) since on 21 December, 2017.
The 10 days outreach campaign is designed to expose these local communities to understand the role of democracy and issues affecting them within their respective areas.
This massive community sensitisation is targeted to sensitise the general public especially the ones at the grassroots on their civic rights and duties, to be able to actively and effectively participate in the democratisation process of the New Gambia.
According to the senior programme officer, Yusupha Bojang, the activity is part of the institution’s ongoing awareness campaign on Democratic Governance, which was earlier held in the Kombos, Fonis, Kiangs and Jarras respectively.
“The current activity is covering 20 selected communities in Fulladu and Niamina” he said.
Mr. Bojang added that the activity will help to sustain and create awareness of constitutional democracy that will enable the citizens to participate fully in the governance and development process of the country.
Bojang believed that through this exercise, the citizens’ political and civic consciousness will be raised, thus addressing some of the misconceptions about democracy and promote peaceful coexistence among the populace.
Speaking at Sare Soffie, Upper Fulladu, Mr. Ansumana Yarboe, senior officer of NCCE, elaborated on the civic rights and responsibilities, noting that the importance of civic responsibility is paramount to the success of democracy.
“By engaging in civic responsibility, citizens ensure and uphold democratic values as enshrined in the constitution and other legal instruments such as taking part in the decision making in their country which should be in their best interest” he lamented.
Mr. Yarboe further shifted his attention on equality within societies as enshrined in the characteristics of a democratic state. He stressed that people should tolerate and respect the rights, freedom and legitimate interests of others and refrain from acting in a manner detrimental to the welfare of others.
He said: ‘‘Gambia doesn’t belong to any political party, ethnic groups nor religion, and for that being the case, no one is above the law and the punishment outlined in the constitution in the last regime is still the same constitution in the present regime.’’
The purpose of democracy in his own view, is a system where as the public can remove administrations without changing the legal basis for government, adding that democracy aims at reducing political uncertainty and instability and assuring citizens that, however, much they may disagree with present policies.
Sirreh Sey, the alkalo of Sare Soffie, said since the arrival of the new democracy, it has been transformed by the people and much especially the youths as violence becomes rampant in the societies.
Alkalo Sey added that the civic education has equipped them well on understanding of democracy, political tolerance and their rights, duties as patriotic citizens in which they feel indebted.
“Then, we took politics as having a meeting where as women and children cook, clap and dance but it is clear to us that there is more about politics which we have now learnt” he said.
For his part, Momodou Jawo of Sare Soffie also lamented on the same issue, adding that political tolerance should be practiced in societies as decisions should be accepted even by those who oppose them since democracy is what is to be practiced in the New Gambia.
“Politicians are destructors since they follow their own interest in securing our votes; people should be mindful of each other as parties will form and deform but Gambia will remain as one and ours for that matter” he stressed.
On the issue of development, Alhaji Babou Baldeh thanked NCCE for enlightening them on the strategies they should take in other to table out their constraints to government without resistance.
He concluded that they would now sit with their representatives at National Assembly of their region on the development of communities as well as the local councils as advised by the NCCE.
Similar messages was delivered at Cha Kunda village in CRR, where Fatou Samura made short remarks by urging the government to draw more attention on National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) as they are doing well in educating the people on democracy which has now been deformed in the new government.