NCCE Concludes Civic and Voter education campaign for the December polls

December 7, 2021 / Comments Off on NCCE Concludes Civic and Voter education campaign for the December polls

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The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has concluded a massive nationwide civic and voter education sensitisation to curb voter apathy and ensure a violence-free election.

The campaign in a form of face-to-face community sensitisation was aimed at promoting civic awareness for increased electoral participation and implemented in all the five regions of the country covering 120 major communities/villages to enhance the understanding and appreciation of citizens of their civic rights and duties of voting as well as spur inclusive and popular participation in the elections and promote political tolerance in this charged political fever.

Outlining the goal of the sensitisation, Senior Programme Officer of NCCE, Mr Ansumana Ceesay says that the upcoming December 4th election is just more than electing a president but also a litmus test to Gambiaโ€™s bourgeoning democracy given that it is the first election since the return of democratic rule and free political completion to the Gambia in 2017.

According to Mr Ceesay the elections will be a pivotal moment to sustain and solidify the momentous achievements of the historic 2016 elections and cement the democratic trajectory of the country. But given the current political climate which is characterized by rising political rhetoric including along tribal lines and intra/inter-party disputes, the stakes couldnโ€™t be higher. Therefore, NCCE, in the weeks and months ahead intends to execute a robust nationwide civic education campaign using the media and grassroots structures to reach out to as many Gambians as possible with a specific focus on voter education, sensitization, mobilization and peace messages to ensure the elections process is inclusive, participatory and peaceful.

Elections are indispensable in a democracy and offer citizens opportunity twice in a decade to express their preferences and choose their representatives in a peaceful manner. This is one of the features that makes democracy standout among other systems of governance. The right to have a voice in selecting those who govern is not just a basic human right but enshrined in the Constitution of the Gambia thus creating the foundation for political participation of citizens. The Constitution guarantees every Gambian citizen who is eighteen years and above and of sound mind the right to be registered as a voter and vote in an election in the Gambia. The Constitution recognizes that voting in an election is the ultimate expression of this right. However, there has been a worrying trend of low voter turnout in recent elections, which according to NCCE Senior Programme Officer can affect the legitimacy of the elected candidate.

Recently, the NCCE has taken other significant steps toward enhancing political participation in the Gambia, particularly during the general voter registration period when similar campaign were organised galvanising Gambians to get registered and now hope to translate that momentum to an unprecedented voter turnout in the election.

Mr Ceesay called on the youth and women who constitute the majority of Gambian voters to continue their contribution to guarding the democratic gains Gambia had attained over the years and advised the latter not be allowed to be used as pawn in the political chess game. He further stated that Gambia is universally known as the Smiling Coast of Africa and a shining example when it comes to stability. He encouraged every Gambia to remain committed to Gambiaโ€™s pursuit of holding successful, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections.