Gambia: Ahead of Kerr Jarga Ward By-Election!

22 October 2020

The Independent Electoral Commission has announced that it will conduct by-election in Kerr Jarga Ward to fill a vacant seat in the Kerewan Area Council. The vacancy follows the notification from the Kerewan Area Council of the resignation of the Councilor for Kerr Jarga Ward.

The move is in accordance with Section 23 of the Local Government Act 2002; with respect to Section 19 (C) of the same Act; the by-election to be conducted within two months of the receipt of the notification.

It was in this connection that the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) on Monday began a week civic education awareness campaign on how to conduct peaceful election ahead of the said councillorship by-election slated for 7 November 2020.

Therefore, peaceful conduct ahead of the forthcoming by-election, is indeed crucial, as elections come and go. But our relations are here to stay.

Local government election forms an important activity in the country's democratisation process, as it enables citizens to elect their local representatives who will be in charge of the local developments of their areas, such as the provision of basic services.

It is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to take active role in democracy by voting. We must remember that elections are the lifeblood of democracy.

Certainly, it is impossible to practice clean democracy in a modern day without a system of establishing choices of large bodies of citizens through voting procedures. Mass participation in the local ward election is crucial in the sense that it helps in reframing the development agenda of the country by deciding their choice of leadership.

In the coming weeks, NCCE officials are expected to hold town hall meetings in various communities within Kerr Jarga Ward in the Niumis about the importance of peace.

However, the only worrying thing is that this forthcoming by-election comes amid coronavirus pandemic which is currently making life difficult for people. We therefore call on people to adhere to social distancing measures and always wear face masks.

Let's also exercise patience ahead of the by-election. However, citizens must take active role in exercising their democratic rights.

"A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation."

James Freeman Clarke

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