The National Youth Council (NYC) in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) recently held a two-day national youth inter-generational dialogue on democracy and youth participation in politics at NAQAA conference hall.
The forum attracted fifty (50) participants from various youth organizations and political parties and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). It was aimed at equipping youth with knowledge and skills of democracy as well as to ensure their effective political participation ahead of the December elections.
Representing Youth and Sport minister, Saikou Sanyang, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports said the confab would help to equip and inform participants on political polarisation, understand the basics of democracy as well as the role of young people in peace building.
"The convergent will equally expose political parties' representatives on how to participate in debates, how to sale their parties' manifesto to the public and tolerance between political parties," he said.
PS Sanyang revealed that the current series of statements and counter-statement in the political arena is a cause for concern. However, he added that government is committed to ensuring a peaceful electoral process.
He reaffirmed his ministry's commitment to promoting youth empowerment and development to harness the demographic dividend in the country.
Welcoming participants at the gathering, Ousman Fatty, acting executive director at NYC, described the forum as 'timely and significant', as the country heads to crucial presidential election.
"The purpose of this two-day forum is for us to discuss on the basis of democracy in a bid to promote effective youth and women political participation. The youth ruling body has invited various stakeholders in the forum in order to discuss the way forward to for the country to have peaceful campaign and election in the December elections."
NYC boss urged participants to disseminate the gained knowledge to ensure wider spread of these vital messages concerning peaceful campaign and electoral process.
Doudou Jah, a participant from the former ruling party, Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC), described the two- day forum as important for all participants, justifying that youth should understand the basis of democracy so that they partake meaningfully in politics.
As Gambians head to the poll in December, Jah advised the youth folks to take interest in the country's politics, and not to allow political parties or stakeholders use them for their own interest.