By Kebba Jeffang
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), on Saturday August 5th engaged the Kombo South communities of Gunjur and Sanyang, on the concept of democracy, following the huge misconception of the widely-accepted governance system, resulting in the abuse of free speech.
The Programme Officer of the institution, Yusupha Bojang, said they have targeted 20 communities in the area, for the clear message on the true meanings and values of democracy to be transmitted.
He said the training is important giving the increasing misperceptions towards democracy by Gambians, who until recently, saw themselves in a new tolerant Gambia. He said democracy is about the general contribution towards nation building and not the castigation, abuses and insults between people or by directing inflammatory remarks towards other people in the pretext of democracy.
Mr. Bojang emphasised that there had been a change of government but the laws of the country remain, adding that any person found wanting in breaking the law, could be penalized now, just as before. He said a fundamental pillar of democracy is the rule of law; that hence it’s a duty for all to respect the laws of the country.
“We thought it prudent to reach out to communities especially the youth and women, to raise their awareness on what democracy entails as well as their rights and responsibilities as stated in the constitution and other national documents,” he explained in an interview with this reporter in Gunjur.
He continued: ‘‘Democracy guarantees freedoms which include freedom of speech but people are abusing it.”
Hon. Kebba K. Barrow, the majority leader at the National Assembly said the Gambia is opportune to have decided in December and it will continue to decide. Hon. Barrow said Gambians deciding, is an opportunity to reflect, to ensure everybody works with government in implementing the blueprint to the letter, in ensuring democracy, good governance, accountability and the rule of law are upheld in the country. He appealed for all to consider the principle of one Gambia, one nation, one people. He urged for all to uphold democracy and good governance to ensure peoples’ lives and properties are protected.
Omar Giki Darboe, the Alkalo of Gunjur said civic education is civic empowerment. He assured that the knowledge gained from the awareness forum will be shared with absentees.
Demba Jobe Touray, the Gunjur Village Development Committee (VDC) Chairman said, as citizens, it is prudent for all to try and improve the status of the country. He particularly challenged youth to be engaged in national development.