Wednesday, September 27

Democracy is yet to be understood by Gambians

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By Olimatou Coker

Bakary Manjang, the Alkalo of Kanmamudou Village, said democracy is yet to be understood by Gambians.

Alkalo Manjang made these remarks on Tuesday at a community sensitization outreach on democratic governance civic rights and duties of citizens organized by The National Council For Civic Education (NCCE) funded by the Association of Non-Government Organization (TANGO) and United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) held at Kanmamudou Village In Foni Jarrol District.

The theme for the 6 days outreach funded by The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO) is consolidating good governance and human rights in The Gambia.

However, Manjang, said the past political impasse has created so many differences across the country.

He further stated that NCCE going to Kanmamudou Village is very important to them at this point when the election is approaching fast.

“I’ll like to call on NCCE to be doing this kind of sensitization every month”.

Ansumana Ceesay, NCCE’s senior program officer, said political and religious differences are also threatening our peace and stability as a country, saying people’s rights should be respected because where one’s rights stop it’s where another person’s rights begin.

Mr. Ceesay also called for political tolerance and the conduct of periodical free and fair elections.

He noted that where there is peace there is always development. He said we are in an election year, and as such, it is important to sensitize citizens to maintain peace.

Ansumana Yabou, a senior civic education officer at NCCE, said elections are the lifeblood of democracy. He described democratic governance as the best form of governance.

Mr. Yabou stated that The Gambia is not a tribal country but made up of various tribes that are all equal as citizens. He, therefore, urged people to do away with tribalism and put the country first.

“The country belongs to all citizens and not any tribe”, he further said. He went on to say that 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 also said.

He also described transparency and accountability as key to good government, adding that separation of powers is also fundamental.

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 you meet the requirements among other rights.

“A country cannot be developed without the citizens,” she said.

She said all citizens should protect each other’s rights.

Muhammed Kanuteh, NCCE civic education officer, said if citizens do not know their rights and responsibilities it is always difficult for them to contribute to national development.

Fatou Sambou, lady councilor of Foni Jarrol, said every citizen has a stake in national development. She added that as citizens, we should not allow politicians to divide us because elections come and go but we continue to live together as citizens.

He also went on to call the general public to be one people, one Gambia, and one nation.

“We all have rights to support political parties of our choice but that should not divide us,” she added.