By Samsideen Ceesay
National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), an institution mandated to enlighten citizens on their civic rights and duties to cultivate an environment of democratic continuity, has recently commenced a 10-day sensitization outreach to 20 communities in the Central River Region (CRR) South.
The outreach is aimed at enhancing national cohesion and peaceful coexistence in communities and the whole country through the promotion of dialogue and respect for the rule of law as a means of settling differences in a democracy.
Speaking at Dobong Kunda, a senior civic education officer at NCCE, Ansumana Yabou, explained that democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government ultimately lies with the citizenry.
He added: “A state is considered to be democratic if its government is accountable to the people and where civil and political rights are legally guaranteed.” Noting that the country belongs to all irrespective of whatever affiliation one may identify with.
He pointed out that democracy relies on discussions, debates, persuasion and compromise when diversity occurs but not through violence or the simple assertion of power.
“The virtue of democracy is tolerance, thus we should learn to be tolerant to each other as brothers and sisters rather than antagonists”, he said.
He further explained that democracy is a system that calls for respect for the rule of law at all times, and when one is aggrieved to an extent that he cannot compromise, there are several mechanisms to utilize to peacefully access justice without getting to conflict.
Kebba O. Jobe, also a senior civic education officer at NCCE disclosed that the Gambia has a tripartite justice system with all of them fully recognized and operational in the country and can be utilised to seek redress, saying no situation should warrant anyone to take the law into their own hands.
He added: “That as responsible citizens, we should know that the exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms are inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations”.