#Article (Archive)

Set a Good Example and Our Democracy Shall Continue to Flourish

Apr 17, 2008, 5:33 AM

It is disheartening to read that no results have been announced in the elections held as part of the World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC). We are told this is because many schools have yet to send their votes to the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) offices in Bakau. The WCPRC is an annual event organised globally by Children's World an NGO based in Sweden which works towards educating children on democracy and their rights.

What kind of an education on democracy will it be for the young people who took part if there are delays in sending the votes to the CPA for counting and, as a result, a delay in the announcement of the results? We have seen what is happening in Zimbabwe with regard to delayed results. It makes people suspicious and brings the whole democratic process into disrepute. It is essential that elections are carried out with all due haste. There must be no lag in time that would allow anyone to question the validity of the process. The process is a simple one and should not take too much time. Votes are cast and then counted. This is a basic operation and not one that requires much time to achieve.

If the election results in this case are delayed then it will send a terrible message to the young people who took part. Everybody involved at all levels must ensure that the votes are sent to the CPU offices so that the result might be announced. Children are very sensitive to what they learn at this time in their lives. If they pick up the wrong message about democratic elections or the democratic process in general it will have ramifications for the future of democracy in The Gambia. We have a good record with democracy in this country and we must protect it. The recently held Local Government Elections went of without a hitch and this is the kind of example we must set for our children.

We have seen in recent times the utter chaos which takes hold when democracy breaks down. Kenya has been rent asunder by violence and Zimbabwe is teetering on the edge of serious trouble. If we continue to promote a healthy, transparent democracy we can ensure that we never witness such terrible scenes in The Gambia. We must continue to be a beacon of democracy on the continent of Africa and we can only do this if we educate on young people on real, true and fair democracy. We have been doing this well but those involved in sending back votes from the recent WCPRC event must ensure the good work continues and the good example we have all been setting is followed by them. Then we can be assured it will be followed young people who are the future of our nation.