By Olimatou Coker
Peace Ambassadors The Gambia recently staged a maiden edition of a monthly situational analysis on the upcoming 2021 election.
The event, held at the Paradise Suites, forms part of activities of the Election Watch project implemented by the organisation with funding from the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The monthly situation analysis on the 2021 election is aimed at expanding election observation, covering the entire electoral cycle.
The Peace Ambassadors program manager Momodou Juju Jallow, stated the event is organized to provide an effective platform for participants to discuss and come up with recommendations that will support a smooth election.
Peace Ambassadors President Bubacarr Sambou, who described the country’s current political climate as “very interesting” said The Gambia is in a relatively unfamiliar position in terms of the competition for political space.
He disclosed that the situation analysis report also provided insights into voter registration process, electoral reform bill, constitutional reform, party congress and citizens’ participation in the election.
According to Mr. Sambou, it was observed and recommended in the report that “young people should not only participate in election processes as voters but also as key stakeholders who could also be contesting for political positions.”
He said it also highlighted the neglect against people living with disabilities, which suggested that they have “never been taken very seriously.
“There are about one hundred and ten thousand (110,0000) people with disabilities who could be participating in the election processes. There is a need to provide them adequate support to be able to fully participate in all aspects of the election.”
The report also took stock of the suggestions of the civil society and political players on the controversial retroactive clause in the draft constitution.
“It is suggested that the CSOs, as well as political parties and other stakeholders, must play their part to ensure that no person entrenches him/herself into power to serve more than 10 years. Concerns are raised that continuous delay of the voter registration could compromise the integrity of the 2021 election and currently, there is very little or no effective sensitization of the public on the election issues. Public sensitization should start from now on to ensure there is enough time to get the message to the people,” the report added.
Sambou said these and many other recommendations in the report would be shared with relevant concerned authorities, stakeholders and the media for actions.
The deputy executive director of the National Youth Council, Pa Malick Ceesay, called on the youth to serve as peace ambassadors in these crucial times of the country.