By Omar Bah
The executive director of local NGO, Beakanyang Kafo has appealed to all presidential candidates to avoid spreading hate speech before and after the December election.
Speaking to The Standard on the sidelines of a national dialogue on peace-building on Saturday, the award-winning human rights activist, Nfamara Jawneh said political leaders should be civil in their messages to ensure a peaceful election.
“They have to make sure that they are measured in their words, be civil and avoid going into issues that would promote hatred in this country,” Jawneh said.
Jawneh urged all candidates to keep an eye on their supporters and ensure they conduct themselves in a manner that would promote peace and national cohesion.
“Basically, we are trying to promote social cohesion in this country and a peaceful election to ensure that there is peace before, during and after the election. We know that issues of hate speech are becoming a cause for concern and that is why we have a project trying to address it and social bullying,” he said.
Jawneh said his organisation is worried that “people are not focusing on issues in our political discussions. We have so many issues in this country but instead of people talking about these issues and how to address them, they focus on attacking each other”.
“This is a cause for concern that should be addressed before it could degenerate into something else. We need to stop attacking personalities and focus on issues,” he noted.
Jawneh appealed to all presidential candidates to consider the implementation of the TRRC recommendations.
He warned that failure to implement the TRRC recommendations could plunge the country into chaos and uncertainty.
“The victims need closure and whosoever wins the election should ensure they have that,” he said.
The day-long national dialogue which brought together stakeholders from the security forces, civil society, students, political parties, regional and community influencers forms part of a project jointly implemented by Beakanyang and the Gambia Press Union with support from the UN Peace-building Fund through UNDP.
The National Youth Council is the strategic partner of the project which seeks to promote youth participation in promoting peaceful elections in The Gambia by discouraging all forms of hate speech and social bullying while promoting tolerance and non-violent election. Beakanyang has held several other town hall meetings in different communities.