The theme for the 6-day outreach funded by The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO), is ‘consolidating good governance and human rights in The Gambia.’
Ansumana Yabou, a senior civic education officer at NCCE, reminded that elections are the lifeblood of democracy and that democratic governance is the best form of governance.
He explained that citizens couldn’t take their rightful positions in national development ‘if they are not aware of their rights and responsibilities’.
The Gambia, he added, is not a tribal country but made up of various tribes that enjoy equality as citizens.
He thus urged people to do away with tribalism and put the interest of country first.
“The country belongs to all citizens and not any tribe. And people are fundamental to democracy and as such it is important their needs are met. Let us do away with things that will jeopardize our peace and security.” He added.
Yabou described transparency and accountability, as key to good governance, saying separation of powers is also fundamental.
Ansumana Ceesay, NCCE’s senior program officer observed that political and religious differences are also threatening ‘our peace and stability as a country.’
“People’s rights should be respected because where one’s rights stops is where another person’s rights begins.”
Mr Ceesay thus called for political tolerance and the conduct of periodical free and fair elections.
He said that where there is peace, there is always development, saying as election year approaches, it is important to sensitise citizens on maintenance of peace.
Aminata Joof, program Officer at NCCE said every citizen has the right to life, association, assembly, education, marriage, not be enslaved, not discriminated against, vote and be voted for provided one meets the requirements among other rights.
Muhammed Kanuteh, NCCE Civic Education Officer acknowledged that ‘if citizens do not know their rights and responsibilities it is always difficult for them to contribute to national development.’
Kanmamudou alkalo, Bakary Manjang recalled the previous presidential election as dysfunctional and divided a lot of people, reminding that majority of Gambians still do not understand democracy.
Lady councilor, Fatou Sambou said every citizen has a stake in national development.
She equally reminded that as citizens ‘we should not allow politicians to divide us because elections come and go, but we continue to live together as citizens.’
“We all have rights to support political parties of our choice but that should not divide us”, she added.