#National News

WANEP holds panel discussion on peaceful electoral process

Jun 2, 2022, 1:37 PM | Article By: Isatou Ceesay-Bah

The West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) recently held a reflection and experience sharing forum on the country’s peaceful electoral process at a ceremony held at Metzy Residence Hotel.

The forum engaged relevant stakeholders such as the media, gender, youth and security in a panel discussion on thematic areas critical to elections. This is in view of the critical role of these actors in the consolidation of sustainable peace in the country.

At the forum, Salama Njie, national coordinator of WANEP, stated that the panel discussion is driven by the need to bring together critical stakeholder to discuss and share experiences on the Gambia's presidential and parliamentary elections, so as to draw lessons on the successes and challenges encountered to improve in future elections.

Ms Njie, however explained that the presidential and parliamentary elections have been defining moments in the country’s political landscape since its transition from an authoritarian regime to democratic rule in 2016.

"The elections have been hailed by both domestic and international observers as generally peaceful, free and fair. Despite these achievements, the pre-and-post elections period has been marred with violent communication and hate speeches."

In view of this, she explained that WANEP-Gambia alongside the National Elections Response Group deemed it fitting to organise the panel discussion as part of efforts to strengthen national capacities for peaceful electoral processes and to contribute to the peace and stability by filling existing gaps to deal with threats related to electoral processes

Ms Aissata De, UNDP Resident representative, expressed delight to be part of the event, acknowledging that The Gambia is fast becoming a model for governance reform agenda in Africa.

She noted that the past two elections attracted unprecedented number of both international and domestic observers, who she said, hailed the transparency of the unique marble electoral system with recommendations by all observer missions to improve it through innovations.

"One of the key lessons that we must reflect on in the recently concluded National Assembly election is the decreasing number of elected women. We have to collectively come up with strategies to reverse this trend and ensure more women are elected in 2027." she said

Babucarr Cham, chairman of the Media Council of The Gambia, thanked WANEP and its partners for their vision and effective collaboration.

He also commended the electorate for their huge sense of patriotism and political maturity that was shown during both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

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