By Olimatou Coker
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has on Thursday commenced the second phase of nationwide intensive civic and voter education sensitization campaign. With Election Day less than a month, Gambians are preparing to elect their National Assembly members on Saturday 9th April 2022. Two teams of NCCE staff simultaneously started the aforementioned campaign with massive outreaches in CRR and NBR, respectively.
The main objectives of this sensitization are to enhance citizens’ political consciousness and promote the culture of political tolerance as well as increase public awareness about their civic and political rights. Therefore, sensitization messages are geared towards empowering citizens, especially youths and women with requisite knowledge for active and massive political participation for a high voter turnout in the upcoming April 9th 2022 parliamentary elections.
Speaking during the first day meetings in Kerr Sanyang and Mayamba in Lower Nuimi Constituency, Mr Ansumana Ceesay the Senior Program Officer of the NCCE reminded the gatherings about their political rights which are constitutionally guaranteed, the importance of parliament and role of parliamentarians, the need for citizen participation and voting in the National Assembly elections, qualification and disqualification for membership of National Assembly, important dates in the electoral calendar and campaign ethics and code of conduct.
Mr Ceesay further counselled citizens that political campaigns are more than wearing political T-shirts, sitting on vehicle rooftops, clapping and dancing to any kind of promise being made by a politician, among other offhand political participations. Ceesay said political campaigns are very essential in any competitive free and fair election. “As stated in section 85 to 96 of the Elections Act, political campaign is an organised effort which seeks to provide information about political parties, candidates and their policies and programmes in an attempt to influence the decision of the electorate. The process is critical in helping the voters to make an informed choice among the contesting candidates and parties on Election Day. NCCE encourages citizens to attend campaign rallies of all the politicians who came to their areas or endeavor to read and listen to the policies and programmes of those parties or candidates, as that will enable them to make informed choices on the 9th April polls.