AU launches national peace campaign in Gambia
The African Union through the African Governance Architecture (AGA), in collaboration with ECOWAS, launched the National Peace Campaign and Dialogue on Democratic Reforms and Youth Participation in Political Processes in The Gambia.
The campaign aims to create an open and collaborative space for young people to be part of political processes, ongoing reforms and peace processes in The Gambia.
A document made available to the Ghanaian News Agency in Tema by the Information and Communication Directorate of the AU Commission, said the launch was also part of preventive diplomacy activities at the support for peaceful elections by member states.
According to the AU, the campaign for peace was particularly timely as The Gambia prepared for its first cycle of presidential and legislative elections in 2021 and 2022 respectively, under the new political regime.
“These elections offer an opportunity to consolidate peace, democracy and participatory governance in the country. It is also in the recognition that young people constitute an indispensable socio-political category of citizenship which is the key to the process of democratization of the country, ”said the AU.
The campaign will focus inter alia on strategic issues; to rally a heightened awareness among young people about the reforms underway and how to engage firsthand.
Improve understanding of the role of young people in democratic governance processes; establish networking avenues for young people, national and regional actors; institutionalize the concept of ambassadors for peace among Gambian youth; and rallying for a more inclusive, democratic and credible electoral process.
Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, in a statement on his behalf, observed that “in the past, young people have been used as tools and manipulated by conflicting entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. selfish goals.
“Today, it is gratifying to see that young people are now engaged in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Remember that your fate is in your hands. So, enjoy it.
“As ECOWAS, we share the belief that now is the time to invest in people, especially in youth which is people-centered investment for development, so that they can become agents of stability. political and social.
He hailed the initiative as being in line with the priorities of the country’s National Development Plan, AU Agenda 2063 and ECOWAS Vision 2050.
AGA-APSA Acting Head of Secretariat Ambassador Salah Hammad said: “As The Gambia goes through elections this year, this particular call for national dialogue and the launch of a peace campaign is ideal. “.
He expressed the conviction that this dialogue and this campaign will bring this young nation to embrace its differences, to become one and to support the important national exercise as a testimony of the growing democratic space.
He underscored the need for increased investment in young people and their meaningful engagement as leaders for peace and partners for change.
The campaign and dialogue are the result of the multi-stakeholder assessment mission led by AGA and organized in partnership with ECOWAS, the Election Assistance Unit for Democracy (DEAU) and the African Commission on Human Rights and peoples (ACHPR), in August 2019.
The findings of the mission developed laudable government efforts, but also identified glaring gaps, including the need to support meaningful youth engagement in electoral and political processes.
These findings paved the way for strategic engagement and support, as evidenced by the joint action of AGA-ECOWAS, DEAU with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
This action plan aims to identify the resources, experiences and capacities that can potentially overcome the obstacles preventing young people from fulfilling their full potential.
Recognizing The Gambia as a country in transition, and realizing that the country is preparing for its elections, channeling technical support to this young nation was deemed ideal.
This support aims to strengthen the capacities of young people to facilitate dialogue on peace, but also to develop their knowledge base to facilitate their meaningful engagement in political processes.