Sep 4, 2008, 6:05 AM
National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) recently concluded a ten-day civic
and voter education exercise for 20 communities in the Central River Region
(CRR) North, as part of their constitutional mandate to educate the citizenry
about their democratic rights.
The sensitization activities held in Sami, Niani, Nianija, Upper Saloum and Lower Saloum districts respectively, were organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Speaking at Karantaba Wollof, Yusupha Bojang, programme officer at NCCE, said the NCCE aims at engaging, educating and deepening the understanding of citizens on their civic rights, as well as empower citizens to actively participate in the governance process of the country.
Mr Bojang noted that politics is not about violence or using words that would cause chaos in the country and, therefore, urged people not to allow politics to bring division among them.
He also called on the electorate not to sell their votes.
Bojang urged women and youths to change their attitude towards elections.
He further urged all those that have met the requirements to cast their votes on election days to do so, saying the development they get is as a result of them casting their votes.
Kebba O. Jobe, NCCE civic officer, said peace and stability obtains only in countries that hold elections regularly and, therefore, urged citizens to exercise their civic rights by casting their votes to ensure they have peace and stability in the country.
“Citizens’ needs can only be met when they have a president,” he went on, saying every citizen has the right to association, assembly and conscience.
Mr Jobe also called on citizens to hold authorities accountable.
Ansumana Yabo, also a civic officer at the NCCE, pointed out that people value presidential elections more than the national assembly and council elections, and he urged them to change their attitude as all are meant to bring development to the nation.
Amadou Sallah, a native of Renery Wollof, commended the NCCE for their work, as well as empowering them with knowledge that would be beneficial to them during elections.
Musa Cham, also a native of Nenery Wollof, said they have better known their rights as citizens, but also appealed to the IEC to provide them with a polling station in their village.
Dawda Njie, a native of Jamali Ganyado, said his understanding is that the poor turnout during elections is as a result of the overcrowding of people at polling stations, as some people have to queue the whole day without being able to vote, as well as also walking kilometers to access a polling station to vote.
Meanwhile, similar sensitization sessions were held in the villages of Jarumeh Koto, Barajally Suba, Sukuta, Kuntaur Wharf Town, Dingirai, Chamen, Conteh, Sare Alpha, Niorro Buba, Njaw Sawalo, Bati Jamagen, and Panchang Wharf town, Njaw Sikunda, Kaur Touray Kunda, Balanghar Kerr Nderry, Balanghar Hoi and Kerr Maila.