By Oumie Mendy
The Inter-Party Commitee (IPC) has urged Gambians to vote for women, youth and persons with disabilities vying in the National Assembly and Local Goverment elections.
“We appeal to all Gambian voters to consider voting for women, young and PWDs who will be nominated by political parties or vying as independent candidates,” PIC said.
The IPC wishes to promote inclusiveness and to esure the reprsentation of all sectors of the population in elected offices and politial party leadership structures.
According to IPC, in a quarterly meeting in Masankoko, Lower River Region in June 2021, political party leaders committed to elevate more women to party leadership positions by nominating more women to vie for elective seats, thereby contributing to Gambia’s efforts of achieving at least 30 per cent gender quota in National Assembly and local councils. “Following the unequal outcomes of 2017 and 2018 elections where only three women were elected in the National Assembly and eight in the local councils and no person with disability elected, is a critical gap that politial parties must rectify in the forthcoming and future elections,” PIC stated.
The IPC also established the women branch (WOBIPC) last year to accelerate the promotion of women participation in national and local politics while a ‘gender policy for political parties is being developed to institutionalise, increase, and monitor parties’ commitments to gender equality in politics’. The formation of the youth branch of IPC (YOBIPC), formulation of IPC’s inclusion and diversity framework, among other interventions targetting the young people. It added that “these interventions will continue being a priority for IPC to ensure no one is left behind in line with the National Development Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and African Union Agenda 2063 that strongly advocated for the inclusion of marginalised groups in deision making.”
IPC appealed to the over 900,000 registered voters to consider electing women, youth and PWDs candidates in the 9th April polls. “In cases where the women, youth and PWDs will be independent candidates,” IPC appeals for similar consideration, “inclusion of the marginalised Gambians should be beyond party politics, ethnicity or other economic barriers. As a country, it is important to remember the inclusion of women, youth and PWDs in decision making processes as it is a fundamental human right and an issue of social justice, especially in a country such as The Gambia, where the largest population and registered voters are both women and young people.”
IPC, through its youth and women branches will undertake a nation-wide campaign to advocate for the election of more women and youth in the next National Assembly. “We will also work closely with CSOs and media to promote peace in 53 constituencies. Few of the constituencies chosen for the political debate were Foni Bondali in West Coast Region, BCC-Banjul North and Bakau KMC,” it added.
It called on all Gambians to maintain peace during the campaign period and safeguard democracy by embracing the progressive options of dialogue, political tolerance and peace.