By Mustapha Jallow
Communities in Sami Pachocki, such as Bayaba and environs, were on Friday, 9th March 2018, urged to turn out in large numbers, for the forthcoming Local Government Elections.
This call was made by officials from the National Council for Civic Education, during their recent outreach campaign in Central River Region (CRR).
‘‘You should turn up in large numbers to elect responsible Councillors. Don’t vote for individuality or relationship, but for a good leader for the progress of your ward,’’ NCCE’s Kebba O. Jobe told communities.
Speaking at Sami-Pachocki district, Jobe said Councillors should be nominated by not less than 75 voters, whose names appear on the register of voters for the ward and that each candidate deposits D1,250 at the IEC, before nomination papers can be validated.
The deposit he told villagers, is to be returned when a candidate polled 15% or more, of the total votes cast for the elected candidate.
‘‘Elections give you the chance to vote for someone else if you think your representatives aren’t making decisions that benefit you,’’ he advised.
According to Jobe, Councillors are to serve for a term of four years and are eligible for re-election for not more than three consecutive times; that equality and balanced access to the public media is guaranteed to all political parties and their candidates.
He explained: ‘‘The president will appoint an interim management team for each Local Government to perform the functions and exercise the powers of a Councillor, until the day preceding the first meeting of a Council after a Local Government election.’’
In his comments, Foday Madu-Ceesay blamed the present Council for isolating villagers and demanding high taxes from them. ‘‘They failed us. Almost 300 livestock were robbed by armed men. Since we elected them, we were left-out,’’ he stressed.
Momodou Bah of Bayaba explained how present Councillors used sweet words and manipulate their minds. ‘‘Most of their sweet-words in the campaign period are false. Since they were elected, we have not benefited from anything yet, through their effort. They have not worked for us. Only for themselves’’, he said.
Senior Programme Officer at the NCCE Yusupha Bojang, was quick to explain that the first phase of the campaign was held in the Upper River Region while the second phase which they were on at the material time, will cover forty communities in CRR-N and NBR; that the second phase starts in Sami Pachonki and ends in Ballanghar Sey Kunda, in Lower Saloum district of the Central River Region and continues from Kunjata in Sabach Sanjal District to Madina Sering Mass in Lower Nuimi District of the North Bank Region.
According to him, the activity is part of series of engagements the NCCE will have across the country, using diverse means and platforms to reach out to the populace and sensitize them on the impending Local Government Elections.