By Nelson Manneh
Mr Joe Bongay said in order for the citizens of a particular country to hold their government accountable they should know what their national policies and goals and what they have and have not achieved and why, by asking questions.
Mr. Bongay said this in his presentation as the guest speaker in the meeting organized by the Pro Gambia Association on Saturday, 17 September 2016.
“The problem of the people of the Gambia is that they don’t ask questions,” he said.
The guest speaker noted that governments set out policies and goals to attain their development plans which include areas such sectors as education, gender equality, health, etc.
“Now these goals are planned to be achieved within a given number of years and that if this period elapsed and they are not achieved then that means that the particular country has failed its citizens,” he said.
Mr. Bongay said different countries have different priorities but some governments misuse their national resources and fail their people.
He urged the young to participate in the political process in their country.
“The youth must be responsible especially in nation building. Some people will say I will not vote when it is time for election. This is very bad because it means you are not part of the people who are making decisions for the country and if you decide not to vote then don’t complain at the end of the day,’’ advised Mr. Bongay.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Momodou Bah, President of Pro Gambia Association, said the forum is organised to enable them to inform and discuss with their members on what they are doing as an organization.
He said they are also going to look into issues that lead to crimes and how to stop them since their number one objective is to promote peace in the country. He said they are not promoting the interest of any particular political party but that of the Gambia and Gambians.
‘’We have started meeting with the political parties in the country whom we have first written to seek audience with. We have already met and discussed our mission with the United Democracy Party (UDP), People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and are now looking forward to meeting with the other political parties and the president and leader of the APRC,” he disclosed.
He reiterated that their main aim for these meetings with political parties is to discuss with them how to maintain the peace in the country, especially during these forthcoming elections.
Mr. James F. Mendy, Information Officer of Pro Gambia Association, for his part, elaborated on how conflicts start and what they can lead to.
“When we say peace, it does not only mean the absence of war but also grievances against each other,” said Mr. Mendy.
Mr. Mendy noted that conflicts can lead to violent outcomes. ‘’What people fight for nowadays is over power, money, materials, food, identity and other things,” he added.
The Pro Gambia Information Officer said conflict is mainly brought about by intolerance when someone does not want to accept that the other supports or believes in something different and want to force the person to change.
He described intolerance and hatred and precursors of conflicts.