The campaign has begun in earnest of the forthcoming local government elections. It is heartening to note that the young people of the country are indeed showing great interest this time round.
The importance of local government elections is however either misunderstood by many people or underestimated. Local Government Election is as important as the National Assembly Election if not more so. It is at the grassroots that a proper democratic culture is established before it spreads further. In essence, the message is that if we have a very transparent and democratic local government elections, it makes it that much easier to have democratic and transparent national assembly elections then to presidential elections.
These processes help citizens choose the right people for elected offices. If the proper regard is given to the local government, then the citizenry will have a clear channel to engage their governors and that is how progress is registered.
The truth is that the local government is the closest to the citizens. They live within the communities and experience daily the living challenges of the ordinary person. If therefore citizens have a good local government representative; the mayor, the ward counselors and so on, they become the link with, first the national assembly members, and further the Central Government.
The peaceful and orderly conduct of these elections will therefore set the ground for a fair, transparent and democratic National Assembly and presidential elections.
The debates that have become the new culture in Gambian politics are indeed commendable as they bring a connection between the aspirants and their people. They also enable the people to gauge the competence or otherwise of the people who want to hold public office.
This engenders hope for our nascent democracy and should be encouraged.