By Ndey Sowe

The Inter Party Committee (IPC), on Monday June 10th 2019, commenced a three day training of trainers on the Inter Party Committee’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the code of conduct for political parties.

The training of trainers for the dissemination of the MOU and Code of Conduct, is funded under the EU support to ECOWAS’ Peace, Security and Stability Mandate Program aimed at promoting adherence to a mutually agreed code of conduct and memorandum of understanding, to prevent, manage and resolve political conflict and foster national reconciliation.

The three day training program which is currently ongoing at the Tendaba Camp in the Lower River Region, brings together all political parties to design and strengthen the regional sensitization capacity of the IPC, and to spread the message on the principles and code of conduct of political parties to every nook or cranny of the country.

Amie Sillah Sarr, an IPC committee member who deputized for Halifa Sallah, the Chairperson of the IPC, said the training of trainers on the MOU of the IPC under the auspices of the ECOWAS, EU PSS Project, is a giant step in the right direction. She said the training will be followed by a nationwide sensitization program in all regions and on the mass media, to enable Gambians take ownership of the democratic political norms and values which will guide the political conduct of members of all political parties in particular, and all citizens at large; that this can only happen if the country is to enlarge the liberty, peace and prosperity of all citizens. “It is important to reiterate that the Inter Part Committee comprises representatives of all political parties registered by the IEC,” she said; that the forum was to dialogue and cooperate with the aim of promoting adherence to a mutually agreed code of conduct and MOU to prevent, manage and resolve political conflict and foster national reconciliation. She underscored the importance of day and described it as a moment to share and transfer knowledge and values geared towards enhancing compliance with the rule of just democratic laws and regulations. “We are to advocate for standards which bar the use of language, incitement of violence and intimidation,” she said, adding that the forum aims to ensure respect for and the upholding of the separation of powers and promoting the acceptance of the outcome of any transparent and credible elections and the willingness to resort to the judicial system to combat electoral irregularities. ‘‘It is important to remind ourselves that the IPC is charged with the responsibility to receive complaints from member parties, the IEC and the Government and find remedies” she said.

Ousman Gaye IPC Member said the event was important day in the annals of the Gambia’s political history, that it is a sensitization program to train Regional Sensitization Teams (RST).

He recalled the 7th of March when Halifa Sallah and Saikou Sanyang accepted the drafted IPC documents that will assist political parties in terms of regulating their behaviors. “We believe that accepting this document alone is not enough,” Gaye said; that people need to be sensitized; that the training for members of the RST is for them to return to their regions and train other party members at the Constituency level on what is written in the document. He highlighted the importance of MOU between party members and said every Gambian should kwon what is written in it; that the general principle and code of conduct in the said document is a peace building tool in our societies and the country as a whole.

“If all Gambians respect this document and abide by it, there will be no political violence in the country,’’ he said; that they want to see all political parties operate without any hindrance from members of other parties and to create a level playing field for everyone; both the ruling and opposition party.

He underscored the importance of the document and said political parties should respect the Government of the day and the later should reciprocate if we want fair treatment for all.

He urged Gambians to stay away from tribalism and advised every citizen to put country first and work towards the success of her development.

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