The sensitisation campaign targeted sixty communities within the region on the role of Village Development Committees and citizenship as enshrined in the Local Government Act of 2002 the 1997 constitution.
Ansumana Yabo, senior civic officer at the National Council for Civic Education said: “The continuous, growing problems between the VDCs and Alkalolu is attributed to misunderstanding of roles. The VDCs should have a great consideration for the village head in all spheres of their work. Many problems come as a result of development initiatives in the village often without any consultation with the Alkalolu which is wrong according to the Act. The VDCs should be open to accountability and term limits in administration as stated in the Local Government Act 2002 .Also,the village head should see the Village Development Committee as development partners which calls for cooperation between them .The 1997 constitution replaced a decree that came after the coup in 1994 and it is our duty to inform the public in the local languages by explaining plainly to the them what the law book says .
The constitution clearly stipulates the role of the President, Chiefs and the Alkalolu which we are mandated to interpret for better understanding. It is twelve years now since the establishment of the VDCs whose role is spelt out in the Local Government Act of 2002. According to the Local Government Act 2002, VDC executive members should be elected in which two members (Male and Female) from each Clan (Kabilo) shall be entitled to vote and registered at the Area Council and not at the Attorney General Chambers .It is part of our mandate to tour communities but this time we are in the West Coast Region. The purpose of the tour is to remind the local authorities, VDCs and the Alkalolu on their roles”.
Kebba Jobe, another NCCE official explained to the communities the different ways of attaining citizenship citing the constitution.
“There are four ways to become a Gambian citizen which include by birth, descent, marriage and naturalisation . People should be jealous and desist from recommending someone for citizenship based on individual interests. People should have massive respect for and protect the principles of the constitution at all times. You should strive to stay away from corruption in the interest of national development. Protect your development assets and not to term them as government properties because you are the beneficiaries,” he urged.
Sifoe village alkalo, Jerreh Demba expressed gratitude to the officials of the NCCE for the campaign pledging that the lessons learnt would be put into good use. He admitted that village heads and the VDCs often have problems due to power imbalance. If their roles are properly explained, he said, this problem would be solved.]]>