The three day training which will run through 7-10 September 2021, brought together participants from the Inter Party Committee, Civil Society Organisations, Traditional, Faith-Based, Women, Youth and Opinion Leaders.
The training aims to provide a platform for Gambian peace actors to dialogue with the sole objective of conducting a peaceful presidential election before, during and after as a nation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director of Political Affairs of ECOWAS Commission Dr. Remi Ajibewa, said the training is meant to discuss a peaceful election “particularly to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders in mitigating and preventing potential pre and post election related disputes.”
Dr. Remi said the training is part of ECOWAS’ policies to make series of engagements with member states conducting elections to determine the level of preparedness and to mitigate any related issues that may hinder the smoothness of an election.
The ECOWAS Representative to the Gambia Varbah K. Gayflor expressed her delight for the willingness and political will participants have demonstrated to have dialogue and ensure there is peace during the election.
She reiterated that ECOWAS is committed to lasting peace and security adding, “The ECOWAS Commission being at the forefront in search of sustainable peace, security and development within member states is committed to facilitate development and economic integration in the entire region which is geared towards actualising the dream of the founding fathers of ECOWAS.
“This training is therefore coming at the right time as the country prepares to conduct the presidential election and I think it’s a laudable initiative as it is in consonance with the priorities of the country's National Development Plan and ECOWAS’ own vision 2050,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Co-Chairman of the Inter-Party Committee Musa Amul Nyassi spoke about the significant role of the committee particularly during this period.
He said the committee has a daunting challenge as the presidential election draws nearer noting a lot is expected from them.
He further said: “Therefore we should ensure that we take a common position in ensuring that we see Gambia and not party, we see Gambia not tribe, we see Gambia not religion and our focus is the betterment of The Gambia we serve.”
The Foni Kansala legislator emphasised the need for dialogue as a people in ensuring the Gambia conducts a peaceful election.
The UNDP Representative to the Gambia Aissata De re-echoed the need for dialogue towards sustaining peace adding her office will continue to support the peace and democratic process.
Meanwhile ECOWAS would conduct a similar three day training beginning 10-13 September in Basse for inclusivity purpose.
ECOWAS aims to decentralise such an important training to provide the opportunity for people in the interior to have a say on such a national process.