senior civic education officer at the National Council for Civic Education
– NCCE, Ansumana Yabou - has urged Gambians to always think sincerely about
their choices before making their minds to vote, saying in casting votes, they
are taking the responsibility to decide who they want to represent them in any
Speaking during the commencement of a nationwide community civic and voter education campaign ahead of the April local government elections at Fantumbung village in Upper River Region’s Kantora district, Ansumana Yabou said participation must not be for its sake alone but must be based on knowledge and critical thinking for it to be meaningful.
The country’s civic education body commenced the nationwide campaign at Passamas, Wuli East District and Fantumbung in the Kantora District, targeting to enlighten the citizens on the importance, roles and functions of Mayors/Mayoress, chairpersons and councilors in community development, such as the provision of basic social services. “It is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to take an active role in democracy by voting.”
He said voting is the most important democratic activity, adding that every citizen has equal right to vote and elections allow them to express their political will.
Deliberating on the role of councilors, Mr. Yabou quoted Section 90 of the Local Government Act that states that, “every council shall be the planning authority for its area and may plan and implement any program or project for the general upliftment of the community; prepare a comprehensive and uninterrupted development plan for its area; incorporate all ward plans; co-ordinate all donor support; and approve all project agreements.”
He also said it is the role of councilors to ensure that citizens benefit from the taxes they pay through provision of basic social services to them by Area Councils. “Area Councils are responsible for the provision of basic services to citizens such as water, street lights, markets, feeder roads, support to women with labour saving devices such as milling machines, women gardens and support the education of children through scholarship and environmental sanitation.”
Senior programme officer Yusupha Bojang said the outreach is the first phase of the local government elections sensitisation campaign activities that, he said will cover the entire country. He said the first phase is covering forty (40) selected communities in the URR.
Mr. Bojang added that the sensitisation engagements would also seek to promote unity and political tolerance among citizens, to ensure peace during and after the elections.