National Youth Convergence to Offer Constitutional Supplement

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The National Youth Council –NYC- is gathering all its regional and district structures at the FIFA goal project in old Yundum to deliberate on a year-long leadership discussion and participation of young people in Gambia’s socio-political landscape.
Beginning on Friday, the convergence will go until Sunday and will sum-up activities ranging from district to regional congresses and programmes and policies implemented by young leaders who emanated as a result of the council’s coordination. The convergence is organised on the theme: Democracy and Development
“The retreat has double-edge vision in which the Council appears for accountability of the regional youth representatives, who would also present both rough and smooth experiences for scrutiny by the national youth authority,” NYC Executive director Lamin Darboe said.
Implementation of youth work across the country fell under budgetary confinement of 32. 2 million dalasi in 2019, compare to 25.3 million in a year before, against an expenditure line of 27.9 million in 2019, and 25.7 in 2018.
Government subvention has been between three to four million dalasi during the period under review, with the United Nations agencies of UNDP and UNICEF among the leading supporting partners for the cause of youth through the National Youth Council.
Youth and Sports Minister who was represented by Deputy Permanent Secretary, Lamin Camara, said the meeting symbolises youth understanding of democracy, and that, society could brace-up for the dawn of era which is inclusive in terms of representation, tolerance and peace.
“It is my belief that this gathering is evident of the participants and respective organisations to review your progress, discuss challenges, and have honest conversations on what democratisation means for young people in The Gambia,”he said.
Draft National Constitution
The event is being held at a time when a draft national constitution is released for final review and the youth council is expected to spend nutritious time and energy to be able to share a view on “the constitution we want.”
Under the National Youth Development chapter, the draft constitution described youth as important asset in the national development. They will be factored in all affairs of State policy to ensure their development and effective participation in nation building.
On the qualifications for presidency, Mr Darboe hinted that youth will seek to dispel ‘the ambiguity’ on Subsection 1 (f) and (g) of Section 91 of the draft which dictates that a person is qualified for election as President if he or she holds a minimum of an undergraduate degree, and a minimum of a senior secondary school certificate.
For Mr Darboe, pegging presidential eligibility on a minimum first degree plus five years’ work experience contradicts the promise of a senior school certificate before one could be elected as president.
The youth are expected to debate on the minimum age requirement of thirty for one to be eligible for the position of president.
Going by Gambia’s education structure, the legal age offers graduation at the Senior Secondary School at eighteen years, which also makes it possible for one to attain a first degree at the age of twenty-two. Upon graduation by these ages, the senior school certificate will have to wait for additional twelve years, while the university graduate would be eligible for election as president after eight years.
While the youth may be satisfied with the provisions which guarantee contest for National Assembly election at the age of twenty-one, and a minimum of a senior secondary school certificate, they are likely to request for addition to the minimum of ten percent youth representative bodies in the Local Government Area.

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