#Article (Archive)

On the right to vote

Aug 26, 2016, 9:46 AM

(Thursday August 25, 2016 Issue)

The Media Agenda, through the support of the US Embassy in The Gambia, has rolled out a sensitization exercise of about 100 journalists from the electronic and print media, to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills of informing and enlightening the public of their right to vote in elections.

This laudable move is worthy of commending as this will help greatly in putting the general public up to speed with the nitty-gritty of especially the upcoming elections. It will as well help the media to be able to conscientise the people on the essence to vote and exercise their universal suffrage in the democratic process of the country.

The country, as speakers at the Media Agenda training course rightly stated, has been experiencing low voter turnout over the years of the past elections. And one of the reasons for the voter apathy is lack of adequate sensitization of the public of their civic rights to vote in elections.

In trying to reverse this situation, therefore, journalists and the media have a great role to play by contributing to educating the people of their voting right, and why such rights should be exercised in choosing those they want to run the state of affairs in the country.

The voter education workshop is actually in line with promoting democratic values in the country, as well as to prevent voter apathy in the upcoming December 1 presidential polls and other local elections.

As the US Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires said in his remarks at the commencement of the training workshop, experiences from other sub-Saharan African countries have shown that voter apathy is relative  to lack of adequate voter education.

Too often people lose interest in the democratic process because “they feel their vote doesn’t count, or because governments neglect” civic education programmes.

“We don’t want to see voter apathy take hold in The Gambia, and what better medium to create an enthusiastic and informed electorate than the media,” the US Charge d’Affaires said.

The Point as a medium that believes in the upholding of high democratic values would, therefore, like to commend the Media Agenda and the US Embassy for the voter education training activity being given to journalists in this country, as the nation gets closer to the presidential election slated for 1st December this year and the subsequent elections.

“Do not seek to find a reason why elections are not possible. Seek to make them possible, and they will be possible ”

Ahmed Chalabi