By: Nyima Sillah
Pateh Baldeh, President Network of Gender Journalists for Women and Cultural Advancement said he is doubtful and surprised over the nonregistration of women aspiring candidates for mayoral positions except Banjul.
Speaking to The Voice, Baldeh expressed his astonishment saying apart from Banjul he did not hear where a female candidate eyeing the position of Mayoress in any of the councils or chairperson of any of the councils either in the Municipalities, City Council, or area councils.
“This is something I cannot understand. Why are they not coming forward, why are they not being selected by their people, or whether they did not apply? If they did not apply, let them try and apply. There is still room for them to come forward and apply for such positions because the nomination is yet to be done when it comes to chairpersons, mayor, or mayoress positions.”
He pointed out that three hundred and sixty-six candidates were nominated from different political parties across the country and out of that three hundred and ten are male and fifty-six are females, noting this shows that the number of women participating in political positions is still low.
“We need to do more sensitization and encourage them to come forward to look for such positions. I also believe that stakeholders like the political party leaders or the political executive members of various parties have a lot to do in sensitizing women, encouraging them to participate, and giving them the courage to take positions in our political activities.”
However, he added it is not going to be easy for activists or any political party to take that responsibility but stakeholders like WANEP, the national council for civic education, and others stakeholders have a role to play.
“Let us give them the chance to participate not only to participate but to see that we vote them in. Gambian women should not see themselves being used by politicians, let them try to take ownership of our political system by participating and claiming what belongs to them. That position doesn’t belong to men, it belongs to all of us,” he said.
He applauded Rohey Malick Lowe for her wonderful performance in contributing to the development of Banjul in the last five years, adding he believes that many women can imitate her or do more.