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‘Young people must be involved in decision making’

Dec 24, 2019, 12:35 PM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

The chairperson of the National Youth Council has underscored the role of young people in decision-making, indicating that their decision now as young people is to move way from consultation to active involvement and participation in the decision making process.

Dembo Kambi was speaking on Friday at the start of a two-day advocacy seminar for National Assembly Members on the inclusion, participation and representation of women, youth and people with disabilities held at the NaNa conference hall. It was organized by Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

The seminar, which brought together lawmakers, was meant to discuss issues relating to inclusion, participation and representation of youth, women and people with disability with the wider objective of enhancing the political space so as to strengthen democracy and good governance.

Kambi argued that consultations are mere formalities but involvement is integral, saying often times people talk about consulting the young people, but more often when they are consulted, their views are never respected.

“We want to be part of those making decisions. We want to be at the table and not on the table to be discussed. This is what can pave the way for the development of this country,” he said

He disclosed that young people make up about 68% of the country’s population and based on this figure, they shouldn’t be exempted from key decision making.

Mr Kambi maintained that youth, women and persons with disabilities are the first and last causalities in any form of conflict, thus their active participation and involvement in decision making processes speaks volumes in the way a country determines her future.

“Young people are very important in any meaningful development in any country. And issues that affect them, makes us to know the better ways to solve those problems. This event is very important as its talks about all inclusion, involvement and participation of women, youth and persons with disability in all sectors of the decision making, policy making in this country”.

Muhammed Krubally, chairperson of The Gambia Federation of the Disabled, said one of his Federation’s objectives is to advocate for the rights for persons with disabilities so as to ensure that the fundamental rights of the disabled are protected and promoted.

“Our objective is ensure that we empower persons with disabilities so that we can live the life we want and to also showcase our talent and prove beyond doubt that disability is not the characteristic that defines who the persons with disabilities are,” he added.

Also speaking, Madi Jobarteh, country representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy, noted that in pursuit of his foundation’s objective of supporting The Gambia in strengthening democracy and building structures for democratic dispensation, the idea of coordinating an accountable and inclusive democracy is essential.

Rohie Bittaye-Darboe, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare said that to enable youth, women and people with disability participate in politics, it is necessary to build capacity and contacts through mentorship programs, networking opportunities and providing financial support.

She observed that it is also important to provide girls and boys with disabilities with free access to good quality inclusive education and opportunity to develop their skills and talent to the best of their ability.

Representing the Speaker of National Assembly, Kebba Barrow, Majority Leader and Member for Kombo South, urged partners in development to include women, youth and persons with disabilities in all activities and programs that would ensure that there would be a smooth running democratisation process in the country  

He thanked the Westminster Foundation for Democracy for organising such an important forum, which he said, would help in the smooth running of the democratisation process in the country.