The National Council for Civic Education has embarked on a week long community sensitisation on the Local Government Act 2002 in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate of educating the Gambian citizenry on their civic rights, duties and responsibilities.
The face to face sensitisation which begins on Tuesday 6/10/12 took a team led by Kebba O. Jobe Civic Education Officer NCCE to Madina Kaiaf and Mukutala villages all in Kiang East District in the Lower River Region.
Addressing both meetings in these villages the NCCE Civic Education Officer Mr. Kebba Jobe said the activities are geared towards educating the Gambian populace on their constitutional rights ahead of the local government elections 2013 as provided by the local government act.
He disclosed to villagers their role and responsibilities in choosing a candidate and their right to vote in these elections; saying that any citizen who has reached the age of 18 and has a registered voters card can participate through voting; that any citizen of the age 21 years, and is ordinarily resident in a ward for 12 months, speak and understand the official language (English) among others can be chosen as a candidate for the local government elections.
He emphasized the need for the people to fully participate in such elections as the Area Councils and Municipalities play a vital role in their communities; that they pay their taxes to councils for development purposes.
He said up to 60 percent of the monies collected by councils should go back to them.
He said in the Banjul city council and Kanifing Municipality, Mayors are elected by the electorate while in the other 6 administrative area councils, chairpersons are elected from among the ward councilors as the first business in their first meeting after elections.
Jobe also told the gathering that all meetings of councils except committee meetings should be held in public and those who attend these meetings should have the copies of the minutes of such meetings.
He also indicates the need for a village development committee for each village and a ward development committee to be established by each ward who will be working hand in hand with the ward councilor for development.
The people he said should have the right to identify their own development projects because they know what they really want in their villages.
Mr. Jobe also emphasized that the people should know that all elected members of the council are their servants and messengers and should only re-elect them into office if they perform as expected by the electorate.
He also explains that after the election of ward councilors there are other nominated councillors of, one of whom should be an Alkalo, one youth representative and one from the women in each Area Council or the administrative area.
Jobe talked at length citing the Gambia constitution and the local government Act.
Both Mbaye Ceesay and Ousman Ndow, Alkalos (village heads) expressed appreciation on the presentations and thanked the national council for civic education for taking the initiative in educating the Gambian people on their civic rights, duties and responsibilities while other participants called for more empowerment calling on the NCCE to organize more of such meetings on regular basis.
The second day took the team to Jasobo and Jomar villages both in Kiang East and the team is expected to go around different villages in all the 3 Kiangs while another team took the Fonis in West Coast region.
The team in the Kiangs include Junkung Saidy also a Civic Education Officer, NCCE