By Kebba Jeffang,
Kaddy Sanneh, the vice chairperson of the West Coast Region Youth Committee (WCR-YC) has tasked young people to do away with the perception of seeing politics as meaningless, useless, valueless and time wasting.
She made this statement at Bwiam on 27th August, 2016 where youth groups and women in the West Coast Region and political parties’ supporters were converged as part of the nation-wide election project of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) to sensitise the youth and women on the importance of their participation and representation in politics.
Speaking earlier, Isatou Bittaye, senior programme officer NCCE, said the project is funded by the UNDP in order to reach out to communities in every region of the country and sensitise them on their civic rights especially in this election year.
She said it is evident that the participation of young people and women are too low as they appear as clappers and dancers in their respective political parties.
Representing the Women’s Bureau, Bintou Fatty-Joof said women empowerment is a nation’s empowerment especially in politics. She tasked women to stand firm and go into politics as political candidates rather than being just mere clappers and dancers of men in political positions.
“When a woman holds a key political position it enhances sustainable development which helps in breaking the gender inequality that exists between men and women,” said Joof.
She said it is important for women to trust and have confidence in their fellow women candidates who opt for political positions in their respective districts to enhance female participation in politics rather than undermining each other.
“Women’s participation is fundamental to democracy and essential to achieving sustainable development goals and peace”, she further said, noting that, “data has shown that counties with greater gender equality have higher gross national prudent and per capital income,” she said.
She added that “women’s leadership in corporate sectors of the economy results in improved performance, equitable laws and social programmes and budgets that benefit women, children and families.”
She concluded by saying equality and women participation in politics and decision making is a human right and not a privilege, she also said.
Kaddy Sanneh vice chairperson West Coast Region youth committee in deputizing for the Executive Director of the National Youth Council said, participation and representation of youth in politics is limited.
“Most young people see involvement in politics as meaningless, useless, valueless and time wasting which we should avoid. Young people and groups should see participation in politics as our right to self and national development,” said Sanneh.
She said young people are not voiceless but yet are not heard; not minority but yet not seen because they isolate themselves and therefore called on youth to be involved, participate and be represented in politics.
“Youth should not see politics as meant for the elderly as we are the future”, she added, “Participating in politics means preparing our future,” she said.
Ms Sanneh called on youth to take the lead in order to address issues affecting them.
“Most of the time we sit back murmuring, blaming leaders for not doing things right for us”, she further said.
She also challenged young people to register and vote during elections as it is their civic right. She called on young people to change their attitude as the country belongs to them, and can only be developed by them.