‘Women, youth participation enormous in Gambia’s transition’

Jan 19, 2021, 10:54 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Alh. Sering Fye, chairman of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has said that while fundamental reforms are much needed and highly contested, having critical mass of women and youth in decision-making has an enormous impact on the issues we are confronting as a nation transitioning.

He added that our nascent democracy has experienced radical shifts in our political culture and significant institutional changes in recent years.

The NCCE Chairman made these remarks on Saturday during the opening of community dialogue initiative among women, youth and community leaders/structures held in Mansakonko.

The dialogue organised by NCCE and funded by Unicef centers on the role of women and youth in grassroots governance and peace building.

The week-long dialogue session will be held in three administrative regions (LRR, CRR and URR) targeting 240 participants (women, young people, community leaders and the physically challenged. 

Mr. Fye noted that increasing the proportion of women and youth in decision-making is not just a matter of equity because critical masses of women and youth decision-makers also make a difference in bringing forward issues that previously went unaddressed.

He also said that having women and youth in political leadership is very much in line with our constitution which guarantees basic human rights for women and men including young people to enjoy full legal equality of opportunities.

He added that we need to ensure youth and women’s participation across peace building processes.

He stated that, “no meaningful development and sustainable peace and democratic maturity can be attained if women and young people are left behind”.

He further added that Gambia’s 2021 presidential elections which will be the first since the ousting of an authoritarian regime would be a pivotal moment to consolidate and cement the democratic trajectory of The Gambia. 

He also said that the election is coming at a time when the country is deeply polarised, adding that, there is a rising tide of ethnic and religious-based hate rhetoric on the airwaves and social media.

He said these pose the risk of creating social and political instability that can derail the country’s progress and cause mayhem. He therefore reminded young people to be law-abiding and desist from the abuse of social media and not allow to be used by politicians as pawns in the political chess game.

Rohey John Manjang, Governor Lower River Region said without peace there cannot be meaningful development.

She added that, women, young people and community leaders’ inclusion is important in the decision making processes.

“Peace and peace building requires ownership”, she opined, saying youth and women spearheading dialogue processes and peace maintenance is critical.