Can we allow the newly elected Diaspora umbrella body to start on a wrong footing? In as much as we may wish to bury our heads in the sand, it is very important for people of diverse origin to be inclusive and tolerant. That is the only way we can put our strength to good use.
Some may bring theories that as long as we speak the same language, the reflection of our ethnicity must not be an issue. People who believe in such a myopic view downplay total ethnic inclusion as trivial and unimportant. How wrong are these people? How long shall we close our eyes and keep lying to ourselves?
Yes, we are all Gambians who found ourselves in a country of different ethnicity and heritage. Does that mean we all think and see things the same way? Heck no as Americans would put it! This means we have to be sensitive to the inclusion of all in whatever we share, particularly on a platform that would avail us the opportunity to decide the future of our country caught on the brink of tyranny. Before going further, let me pause and diagnose the executive of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in the Gambia (CORDEG) and see whether the body cares about inclusion of diverse Gambians. Then you will know who is spreading his tentacles and who is elbowed out.
Chairman: Dr Abdoulaye Saine STDGP (Wollof)
Vice Chair: Madam Sigga Jagne STDGP (Wollof)
Secretary General: Abdoulai Jobe (Wollof)
Head of Legal Affairs: James Bahoum (Wollof/Serere)
Spokesman: Banka Manneh (Mandinka)
Security Man: Kejau Touray (Mandinka)
Political Man: Sarjo Bayang (Mandinka)
Finance Man: Ebrima Dibba
Women’s Affairs: Faoumata Jallow (Fula)
I cringed when I first set eyes on the composition of what could have been a successful Diaspora organization. It is evident that something is not definitely right here, and I will not shy away from putting my finger into some people’s eyes. Yes, for not doing the right thing. The many questions that crossed my mind are: is CORDEG overtly or covertly attempting to play political fiddle or have a hidden agenda? Whatever its goals may be, I guess they have to be within the confines of the Raleigh Accord, which empowers such a body to play the role of supporting our already fractured opposition. I mean people who lost everything, including their means of survival, to remain in the hot soup. Some of them have endured systematic tortures, endless court battles and seeing their die-heart pillars scream with pains of torture. Ungrateful as we may be, we would commit grave mistake if we in the Diaspora underestimate their power and influence. Let’s try our wishful thinking and see whether Gambians will be swayed. As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding in the eating.
When I look at the CORDEG executive, I can clearly see many absentees. Where is the inclusion when Sarahules, Jolas, Manjakos, Bainunkas, Mansuwankas and Akus are nowhere near the executive? This reminds of the former President Dawda Jawara who went along with almost a member of every ethnic group to Marlborough House to negotiate our independence. If Jawara, with all his government’s deficiencies, respected and cherished inclusiveness what then is stopping CORDEG from doing the same.
Unless CORDEG executive harbour an ulterior agenda, it should quickly do a reassessment putting into cognizance the very reason why it exist and create more room for diversity. If the learned Professor and team refuse to budge, then they should have themselves to blame if CORDEG is buried before its first anniversary. I bet the present executive body is a non-starter and doom to fail and fast. The Gambia today is different. Utmost sensitivity is the brain child for us to survive in the post-Jammeh era. Can’t we learn from many African countries that have been and still mired in political crisis spiraled by their lack of ethnic inclusion? Guinea, Ivory Coast, CAR, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and many others all had their version of ethnic political explosion. We don’t want to go through that horrible experience.
Diaspora is critical in demonstrating a move beyond a certain level…All the significant position in CORDEG are on one side… A lot of water must certainly passed under the bridge before this set up was put together. While the public may not know who did what but we are sure lobbyists have put spanners to work, making sure that some high profile candidates did not come close to the executive. I think the whole CORDEG process was done in a hurry.
Don’t take my observation as negative. The noise has already started gaining momentum because most people feel our long absence from home has made us not only detached but also deviated from the reality. Some who left the Gambia some 30 something years back feel they can become relevant with their Utopian Marxist and MOJA-G ideologies into our political equation which are just delusional in thinking. Our insensitivity and failure to accept the reality can both turn CORDEG into a missed opportunity. Let us be guided by care and do the right thing before we allow the media to summon CORDEG to the public court.
Who are we to accuse Jammeh of Jolanising the government and UDP of being a Mandinka party, PDOIS a three-man idealist party, NRP a Fula comfort zone and PPP one man party only to do the same? Are we not the same people crying for a Gambia where everyone is equal? CORDEG look before you leap! I rest my case with dignity!