Sunday, May 28

Youth participation in political process in The Gambia

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By Alkali Cham

Records suggested that the youthful population of this country is about 60% which is an enviable portion of the population, putting in context the energetic nature of young people. Society referred to them as the cream of any nation considering their significance in the developmental processes of a country.

Political process requires all-inclusive approaches which preaches the involvement of all age sects to achieve the most desired outcomes. 

The Gambia is blessed with a highly enthusiastic youthful population,  has its young people played a significant role ensure that the democracy which was hard fought is indeed cherished for posterity.

The struggle that ended was described to be a dictatorial regime of former president  Jammeh could not have been achieved without the participation of the young people to refine their destiny.   It’s common knowledge in The Gambia that, the young people took to the street both in the Gambia and diaspora to add their voice to the rest of the Gambians who wish to end the trend of leadership we had at the time.

In the current political climate of The Gambia, young people have prepared themselves to rekindle the flame of the political atmosphere, it is out of this backdrop that various political parties in the country have established youth structures to strengthen their internal democracy with the powers to decide for the progress and the interest of the parties.

The young people composed a greater chunk of the party’s membership in this country all determined to canvass votes for their parties by helping sell out the agenda to the electorates in the interest of assuming the country’s leadership in the highly competitive political field.

In recent times, we have seen various political parties presenting young candidates to represent them in various contests ranging from presidential, parliamentary, councillorship, and mayoral among others who in the race of their pollical ambition develop sound political policies and programs geared towards the advancement of politics in the country.

In addition, these young people part of displaying their readiness to swim in the political pool of the country, competence is showcased at political debates representing their various political parties, this provides the platform for the electorates to vet their rightful candidates on all angles of life before entrusting them in the political leadership role.

As the country safeguard the newly achieved democracy, the formation of the inter-party committee is a way of uniting various political parties whose ideologies are completely different from the other, irrespective of the difference in structure, ideology, and size. This approach has caused so much unity among the existing political parties in The country, as they always converge to discuss the common good of the country’s political system all pioneered by the young people of the country.

During the political process, various institutions that have an interest in the political development of the Gambia commit to ensuring that transparency is exhibited in the approach of every political process of The Gambia.

Amongst these institutions, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) relies on the service of young people that are recruited to fit in their established system ranging from polling staff, agents, and presiding officers among others.  In addition, the security services also focused on the competence and physics of young officers who are mostly deployed across the country in the service of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the interest of peace and order during this period.

The Coalition of Civil Society (CSO) does dispatch a handsome number of its members mostly youths to various places across the country to ensure the smooth conduct of the electoral process.  This category of youths doesn’t limit their roles to only ensuring peace is prevail during the entire process but commits to enhancing civic education meant to discourage low voter turnout in the country.

In this crusade of voter education, the National Youth Council (NYC) and other youth organizations train young people under their purview to serve as local election observers which helps the democratic process of our beloved nation, The Gambia. The establishment of fact-check centers by various youth leaders in the country is a giant step in our country’s political development, misinformation and disinformation are factors that impede the smooth process of The Gambia’s democratic process, the advent of these intuitions by prominent youth leaders contributed immensely to the trimming in untruthful information relating to politics and has potential to spark political conflict in the country.

The Gambia media fraternity has to be commended extremely well for its steadfastness safeguarding in the growth of democracy in the country, during various electoral processes the media chiefs depend on the strength of their young reporters to file in political development stories, equally objectively focus on the policies and programs of all the political parties which were broadcasted, published and promote the interest of these political parties at no cost, just to promote democracy.

However, the report which emanated from this recently concluded local government election suggested that young people fail this time around to come out in large numbers to vote in this key election because these sects of politicians are placed at the grassroots to deal with issues that affect the community directly, young people must not relent in their drive to ensure that, the Gambia uphold the democratic values also to

ignite strategies to hold leaders accountable for their actions as they are in charge of a position of trust.

The Gambia has achieved so much in terms of democracy which cannot be mentioned without recognising the timely and relentless efforts of the young people from political structures to the individual level and this must be jealously guided in the interest of the national building.

Long live young people of The Gambia, long live youth-to-youth cooperation, long live Gambia