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Youth eyeing National Assembly seats!

Mar 15, 2012, 1:02 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

In one of our Youth Forum editions, we asked the question: Are youths prepared for National Assembly elections? I stressed that the question that keeps lingering in my mind, ‘Is whether The Gambia’s young people are really ready for the day. And if they are, then to what extent?’

Why I asked the question was that while the women NGOs and activists are criss-crossing the entire country to encourage the women to contest in the forthcoming elections, no sign of this is being shown by the youthfolk.

After the March 8th National Assembly nominations, it has come to light that, indeed, there are some youths who are ready for the day though not as much as anticipated.

Nonetheless, the development is signalling that the youth are equally becoming more interested in actively participating in the political development of the country.

The youth want to be seen and heard and it would be great if the elders could give them the needed support and encouragement.

I only hope that these young contestants would win in their respective constituencies to address the issue of youth under-representation in the Gambian National Assembly.

We need elected young people in the National Assembly to fight for the welfare of the youth in the House.

Engaging the youth in Gambian democracy is long overdue and we must take charge of our own destiny as youths by contesting for elections or supporting other youth candidates.

While it is good to have youth nominated into the National Assembly it is much better to have them elected.

As young people, we should support one another in our various endeavours and as such I urge all young people in the country to vote massively for any young and competent candidate in their areas.

I must emphasise that the youth also have the ability and the courage to be helping this country in making good laws like the elders are doing, only if given the opportunity.

We need more youth representatives in the House to talk about the plight and interest of young people ranging from employment, to education and other challenges.

It is an undisputable fact that some of the nominated candidates for the National Assembly are ageing and should have given chance to the young ones to contest in their constituencies in the coming elections.

Unfortunately, some of the ageing MPs have vowed to come back, which is not too bad, but we would have loved to see them hand over the responsibility to the younger ones.

Gambian youth must ensure that they are at the centre of the decision-making process through the ballot boxes.

I must acknowledge that the Gambian National Assembly, despite the lack of a youth-age representative, going by the National Youth Policy (15-30), has been doing some good jobs for the youth.

However, it would have been more appropriate and appreciated if the youth were there themselves hence they would know their problems better.