BY Kebba AF Touray
In the country’s ongoing efforts to address the past for a better Gambia, the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has organized National Dialogue on Peace and Reconciliation on the theme “Promoting Peace and Unity through Dialogue and Tolerance”.
Thirty (30) villages have been selected in the Foni Kansala District; where NCCE will be staging this crucial sensitization program at this crucial stage of the country, with a view to attaining peace, stability and reconciliation. The eleven day sensitization program started on the 13/06/2017 at Bwaim, Foni Kansala District and ends on the 23/06/2017.
In the opening statements, Lamin Bojang, on behalf of the Alkalo of Bwaim, expressed delight for what he described as a peaceful gathering aiming to ensuring restoration and maintenance of peace, tranquility and stability in the district. He extolled NCCE for the initiative and prayed for the success of the meeting.
Mr.Birang Camara, the Chief of Foni Kansala District, urged the community of Foni to accept the change, adding that governments come and go, but the state remains. He clarified that the people of Foni are not opposed to the new government or vise- visa. He implored all to put hands on deck for the betterment and development of the country.
For his part, the Chairman of Brikama Area Council, Mr.Bakary Saibo Sanyang, expressed grief over the post electoral disturbances in Foni and implored the participants to speak their minds and not hearts, so as to amicably solve the problem, which will help them leave a good legacy. He reiterated the need for truth and justice to guide in all their actions and words.
The Governor of West Coast Region, Mr. Ebrima Mballow, said that he is sadden for what has happened in his region, but delighted to be part of the meeting which is national dialogue on peace and reconciliation. He said the meeting is significant and timely in the sense that it is a call to address the aftermath of the recent incident that happen in his region and to pave the way for peaceful co-existence as a nation. He said as a result of this unfortunate incident, the NCCE found it imperatives to call a peace dialogue with the people in the region. “We in The Gambia are different from for the single fact that we are closely related in one way or the other,” he stressed. He said therefore we should embrace each other and preach peace, because without peace no meaningful development can take place. He urged that in whatever one may do, let the country be his/her priority. He also called on the youths to inherit the country in peace as they embraced from their elders and appealed to his fellow countrymen to put aside their political differences so as to develop the country. He finally thanked NCCE for their foresight in organizing such a meeting to sensitize the people on the significant of peace and reconciliation, which he added is very important.
Alhagie Serign Faye, the chairman of NCCE, said the peace that the country is known for is being threatened which has compelled NCCE deemed it prudence to organize the meeting with a view to finding lasting peace and unity in the country. He said the gathering was part of several meetings which they will be having in the coming days in 30 selected communities in Foni Kansala. He said sovereignty of the country resides in the people of the republic meaning that all Gambians are equal before the law and none should be discriminated by being subjected to any disadvantages irrespective of any status, as enshrined in section 33 of the constitution states that. He said that democracy is routed in the sovereign equality of all the citizens and does not recognized separation of citizens into majority and minority ethnic groups, gender, religion and any other status. “It is our responsibility as citizens, we should know that the exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedom are inseparable from the performance of duties and obligation as stated in section 220, that every citizen shall promote the prestige and good reputation of the country and uphold and defend the constitution, foster national unity and live harmoniously with others, respect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interest of others and refrain from acting in a manner that detrimental to the welfare of the other persons, be loyal to The Gambia and contribute to its defend when necessary and cooperate with the agencies in the maintenance of law and order,” he concluded.
After the opening statement the speakers such as Dumbuya Colley, the Alkalo of Burock, Chief of Foni Bintang, Alh Alfusainey Jarjue, Ali Nyass, Kaddy Badgie, a Lady Coucilor among numerous speakers all expressed their concerns and dissatisfactions with the presence of some ECOMIG Forces (those from Senegal) in the Foni and call for their removal from the area for killing their animals and demand for justice in the killing of Haruna Jatta to see that justice is been served to the decease.