By Olimatou Coker
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) has recently commenced a massive civic and voter education sensitization on the mammoth voter registration exercise to be conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission from May to July 2021 ahead of the 2021 presidential election.
Yusupha Bojang, programme manager of NCCE, said voter registration is a key element in ensuring that all qualified citizens men, women, and young people alike can enjoy the right to vote. Supported by the UNDP Gambia, the sensitization seeks to avail citizens particularly women and young people with information about the registration such as who qualifies to be registered and when to be registered to have all eligible Gambians be registered to vote in the crucial twice a decade presidential elections in December.
According to Bojang, the face to face community sensitization which was launched at Keneba in Kantora District on 2nd April 2021 forms part of the first phase of a nationwide whistle-stop sensitization to promote civic awareness for increased electoral participation and is expected to last for ten days, covering over 40 major communities in Upper River Region and Central River Region to enhance the understanding and appreciation of their civic rights and duties to register and acquire a voter’s card as well as spur inclusive and popular participation in the voter registration exercise and subsequently in the elections.
“Elections are a cardinal pillar in a democracy and offer citizens an unrivaled opportunity to periodically voice their preferences and choose their representatives in a peaceful manner, This is one of the features that makes democracy standout among other systems of governance.”
He stated that the right to have a voice in selecting those who govern is not just a basic human right but enshrined in the Constitution of the Gambia thus creating the foundation for political participation of citizens.
Bojang further explained that the Constitution guarantees every Gambian citizen who is eighteen years and above and of sound mind the right to be registered as a voter and vote in an election in the Gambia. The Constitution recognizes that voting in an election is the ultimate expression of this right.
“The NCCE informed the public that to register in the upcoming voter registration exercise, one has to prove your Gambian citizenship by producing one of the following: Birth Certificate; ID Card; Passport; or Alkalo or District Chief Attestation”