By Mustapha Jallow
Officials of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) have called for tolerance, political pluralism and peace in the forthcoming Presidential Election slated for 4th December 2021, during their nationwide outreach.
Organised by the NCCE and supported by ECOWAS on the theme: “Consolidating Peace, Democracy and Good Governance in The Gambia,” the which commenced on the 23rd of June 2021 and concluded on 1st July 2021,was centered on peace building, political pluralism and tolerance.
Senior Program Officer of NCCE Ansumana Ceesay, said the outreach was aimed to consolidate peace throughout the election cycle and to dialogue with citizenry on ways to ensure and promote peace sustainably. He said the program was timely as the country gears up for the December 4th presidential elections.
“The issues discussed include principles of democratic governance, citizens’ participation, equality and non-discrimination, basic rights and freedoms, civic rights and duties of citizens in a democracy, political tolerance, reconciliation and peace building,” Ceesay said; that in all their meetings, they encouraged through explanation, the importance of citizens’ participation and responsibility in promoting democratic governance and the rule of law.
According to them, the dialogue has strengthened public awareness and understanding of democracy, enhanced political tolerance and respect for the rule of law amongst others; that they nonetheless reminded young people to be law abiding and desist from taking the law into their own hands.
Ceesay said the dialogue made extensive discussion on political tolerance and reconciliation with the ultimate objective of enhancing social cohesion, peace and stability; that the communities engaged during nine-day community dialogue outreach were Pakau Njogu in Upper Nuimi, Dasilami in Jokadou, Saaba in Lower Badibou, Sara Kunda of Sabach Sanjal in the North Bank Region, Tento Malick Bah in Upper Saloum, Jarumeh Koto in Sami, Niani Sukuta in Niani, Boiram in Lower Fulladu West and Sotokoi in Niamina East.
Alkalolu Modou Ida Bah of Pakau Njogu, Babucarr Boye of Boiram, Kebba Kamu Fofana of Jokadou Dasilami, Bakary Camara of Sara Kunda and Babucarr Beyai of Niamina Sotokoi called on their people, particularly Gambians, to support peace building and enhance democratic governance. The traditional leaders thanked NCCE for their tireless efforts in raising public awareness through civic education whilst other participants called for more of this kind of engagement to bridge the information gap. They appealed to the NCCE and partners to conduct regular dialogue meetings of this kind across the country.
The turnout at each of these meetings was said to be good with the participation level of community members considerably high.