Friday, February 3

20 Gambians trained on conflict monitoring and prevention

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West African Network For Peacebuilding (WANEP) – The Gambia has trained 20 young Gambians on ‘community conflicts monitors’ for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for 4th December 2021.

The two days convergence held at Metzy Resort will allow participants to monitor and report threats to peaceful elections in The Gambia.

It is also expected to help them to collect and process real-time data on indicators of risk of electoral violence in the December’s Presidential Election.

The project titled “Electoral Violence Monitoring, Analysis and Mitigation (EMAM)’’ as well aimed to contribute to the operationalization of the online reporting tool “GAMBIAELECTS’’ platform through capacity building of community monitors in early warning system monitoring and reporting.

Madam Salama Njie, National Network Coordinator WANEP-The Gambia said the last two decades of dictatorship has left the country polarized along political, ethnic-lines with high inequality, saying that the political and economic exclusion was at high tendencies of fuelling tensions.

“The Gambia, seemingly is politically divided with 18 registered political parties so far with 4 four independent presidential aspirants,’’ she said.

According to madam Njie, despite the on-going transitional justice processes and other reform advances established with the aim of strengthening efforts to ensure a peaceful transitional process, she said there still remain challenges in terms of peace and security which in the long run can threaten the peaceful conduct of elections.

“The use of ethnic division as a tool for political power is visible in series of spiteful campaign messages by politicians since the 2016 elections to date, this if not resolved could serve as a catalyst for political instability,’’ she said.

While electoral contests remain a source of tensions and violence in The Gambia, madam Njie further said the dynamics of the 2021 elections are likely to intensify these threats.

She added that for these inconsistencies to be prevented or mitigated it requires the capacities of the CSOs to be enhanced to be able to take up peacebuilding initiatives and as well as monitor and observe the electoral process.

She said: “I am of the firm conviction that you will be able to carry out the task though herculean. For our long-term monitors this is just refresher training as you are very familiar with the terrain having served WANEP for over decades now. For the incoming Monitors, we welcome and believe that you will surely live up to expectation as you were carefully selected out many applicants. We owe it to our people to ensure that these forthcoming elections is free fair and credible.”

Edward Kingston Jombla, Regional Conflict Analyst for WANEP said the training will give participants an opportunity to contribute to peace and security in The Gambia to ensure their communities are safe.

“If the early warning signs are there and you do not report, so that we can help to mitigate or prevent it. You don’t know it might affect you directly or indirectly. So, the joy of having you onboard – this activity is that you are contributing to making your communities safe. That is important,’’ he said.

The activities topic: “Training of community conflict monitors,’’ was centres through interactive sessions, communications, plenary discussions, group work, practical exercises in submitting incidents and situation reports.

The 20 participants selected as listed included 9 participants from WANEP-The Gambia and 11 from WANEP-The Gambia network members and the CSO Coalition on Elections. The session was organised by WANEP in collaboration with CSO-Coalition on Elections with support from the European Union (EU).