#National News

NCCE on civic, voter education ahead of December Polls

Oct 26, 2021, 12:48 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

With presidential elections approaching, the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has begun another phase of its mass civic and voter education to minimise voter apathy and ensure a violent-free election. 

 

In its desire to deliver effective and efficient civic education to citizens across The Gambia in electioneering period and to minimise voter apathy, NCCE said no community seems far and inaccessible to their committed and dedicated staff.

The campaign began on Thursday 21st October in Upper River Region. Two teams of NCCE campaigners were deployed in URR North and South simultaneously conducting face-to-face community outreach meetings. 

Communities such as, Demba Wundu, Mamadi Ceesay Kunda, Sare Gubu Basiru and Misra in Sandu District URR north were those covered during the first and second days of the tour, while other engagements where held in Bolibana, Brikama, Song Kunda and Jawo Kunda in Kantora District URR South. 

These campaigns form part of the first phase of a nationwide whistle-stop outreach to promote civic awareness for increased electoral participation. 

The tour is expected to last for ten days, covering 40 major communities in the Upper River Region.

Outlining the objectives of the sensitisation, Senior Programme Officer of NCCE, Ansumana Ceesay said the upcoming December 4th election is not just electing a president, but also a litmus test for the Gambia’s bourgeoning democracy.

These sensitisations, he added, are geared towards promoting citizen political consciousness, culture of political tolerance, peace and security throughout the electoral process as well as to increase public awareness about civic and political rights. 

“The sensitisations are also aimed at encouraging mass public participation in the forthcoming December polls.” 

Ceesay thus urged citizens to be law abiding and always promote peace.

“This year’s voter education campaign messages are focusing on the following; the principles of democracy, importance of voting and holding elections, constitution guarantee for political rights, nomination requirement for presidential candidates, important dates for the 2021 presidential election, code of conduct for election, political tolerance and its importance.”

These messages, he added, are geared towards empowering citizens with requisite knowledge for active participation in the upcoming presidential election. 

Ceesay reminded that the election is a pivotal moment to sustain and solidify the momentous achievements of the historic 2016 elections and cement the democratic trajectory of the country. 

Therefore, he said, NCCE in the coming weeks and months ahead intends to execute a robust nationwide civic education campaign using the media and grassroots structures to reach out to as many Gambians as possible with a specific focus on voter education, sensitisation, mobilisation and peace messages to ensure the election process is inclusive, participatory and peaceful.

“Elections are indispensable in a democracy and offer citizens opportunity twice in a decade to express their preferences and choose their representatives in a peaceful manner,” he said.

 NCCE Senior Programme Officer informed that this awareness creation is one of the features that make democracy standout among other systems of governance. 

“The right to have a voice in selecting those who govern is not just a basic human right, but enshrined in the Constitution of The Gambia and thus creates a foundation for political participation of citizens,” he also said. 

“The Constitution guarantees every Gambian citizen, who is eighteen years and above and of sound mind the right to be registered as a voter and vote in an election in The Gambia.” 

He equally called on the youth and women, who constitute the majority of Gambian voters, to continue their contribution to guarding the democratic gains Gambia had attained over the years and advised the latter not be allowed to be used as pawn in the political chess game. 

While encouraging all Gambia to remain committed to Gambia’s pursuit of holding successful, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections, he reminded all to safeguard the peace the country is universally known for.

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