#National News

Minister Badjie highlights role of youth in electoral processes

Aug 25, 2021, 11:39 AM | Article By: Sulayman Waan

 The minister for Youth and Sports has outlined the importance of youth participation in electoral processes and other national development activities.

Bakary Badjie was speaking recently during the Training of Trainers (TOT) forum on youth participation in electoral processes held at a hotel in Kotu.

The event was organised by the African Union (AU) in partnership with African Governance Architecture (AGA) and the National Youth Council (NYC) of The Gambia.

The two-day convergence was aimed at enhancing youth participation in electoral processes ahead of the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

Minister Badjie reminded that the training would help participants with the much-needed skills to confront current realities.

“We are hopeful that participants would be able to serve as ambassadors of change in our society. The National Youth Council of the Gambia is playing a huge role to ensure the youth are empowered with a series of training that puts them in a better position to engage political leaders and stakeholders on elections.”  

To this end, the Youth and Sports minister  implored participants to utilise the knowledge gained in the training to assist other youth in the country and internationally.  

Also speaking, Ambassador Salah Hammed, acting head of AGA, said the programme has the potential to create a cohort of capable youth with proper understanding of youth participation on electoral processes to ensure meaningful youth engagement in democratic governance.

“As the Gambia goes to election this year, this group of young trainers will be useful to support this national exercise which will be an assessment for the growing democratic history at the national level.” he said.

He thanked the Gambia government for its commitment in the execution of the project and also the NYC for working tirelessly to ensure the event happened.

Madam Lindiwe Khumalo, rep of ACHPR reminded that African leaders recognised that the continent’s youth are important in attaining sustainable development, peace and prosperity as well as unique contribution in terms of democracy and rule of law.

Due to these fundamentals, she said, African leaders deemed it fitting to involve youths in political processes.

Madam Khumalo noted that youth political participation would help the continent to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Thus, the training, she added, is significant in creating a pool of young experts on youth participation on electoral process in the upcoming election as well as in the subsequent ones.

“This training is important because of its long-term benefit for the continent. It builds future leaders for Africa, it trains youth to understand the importance of governance, human rights and the importance of political formation as well as the role of young people.” she added.

Serigne Mamadou Ka, rep of ECOWAS acknowledged that youth play a critical role in elections, adding that youth are not always engaged at the helm of political parties, but often asked to act on very difficult situations and mostly through violence.