By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The Legacy, a youth-led NGO, held a seminar on civic engagement, on Saturday, 22 October, 2016, at the American Corner in Bundung.
The guest speaker of the seminar was Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, a lecturer at the University of The Gambia. He spoke on ‘Preventing the Prospect of Electoral Violence: The Role of Young People in Championing a Peaceful Election (2016).’
The program, which developed the capacities of students from senior schools and tertiary institutions, was on different thematic areas and key among them, is the role of young people in preventing electoral violence.
Speaking at the forum, the Acting Executive Director of The Legacy, Muhammed Lamin Dibba, said the seminar is on the roles of the youth in championing peaceful elections. He said young people are not only future leaders but partners of today. He stated that The Legacy, as an organization, is with the determination to develop the potentials of young people to release their energy to breakthrough in their respective aspirations.
“As the Gambia goes to the polls in December to elect who will represent us in the next 5 years, The legacy spare no time in making certain that we gather the young people who constitute the majority of the population to polish their minds about the ideals of electoral peace and unity,” he said. Dibba, who doubles as the The Legacy Program Manager, encouraged all the youth to jealously guard the peace and stability of our beloved motherland.
In an interview with the press after the seminar, The Legacy Secretary General, Sheikh Omar Sillah, said youth engagement in election is crucial because inclusive participation is a fundamental political and democratic right. He added that actively promoting the inclusion of youth in political processes is not only about norms, values and rights, but also about practical politics.
“Young people between the ages of 15 and 35 constitute one-third of Africa’s population. However, youth’s influence on national politics remains limited. There is a general sense that traditional politics and representative democracy whereby voters determine the outcome of power struggles at the ballot box fail to attract the attention of younger cohorts who feel alienated from political processes,” SG Sillah said. He added that youths are critical in bringing about social and political transformation in Africa.
Other speakers at the forum include Ebrima Bah and Saidou Jallow.