Let’s Revisit CORDEG Team

SiggaBy Bakary Badjie, Houston, Texas

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!



  1. Halifa Jagleh

    With all due respect to the writer, the CORDEG executive reflects the Gambia as one nation. I honestly do not think that the executive was deliberately composed of certain ethnic groups or that certain ethnic groups were deliberately left out. As Gambians, we are all one ethnic group and it is dangerous and irresponsible for anyone to read ethnic bias in the composition of groups like CORDEG. It’s past time that we grow up and above such petty insinuations.

    Halifa Jagleh

  2. While I am sympathetic to Mr. Badjie’s diversity argument, my association with Gambian diaspora organizations, especially the human rights activist core is that, it is the usual suspects that turn up. It is not diverse in its outlook to say the least. CORDEG could be excuse for selecting from the usual suspects. You got to show up in a struggle to be counted. That doesn’t in any way discount the valuable role of the whole citizenry.

  3. Sorry but ethnicity is stopping the freedom train. GAMBIA defines who we are. “GAMBIANS.”
    Where does this nut come from?

  4. Abdou, it is people like you who are blatantly insensitive to the need of our country. People will not allow organisations calling themselves Gambian this and that be control and manipulated by a tiny one group fit’s all kind of people. If you feel all four position in the top fill by folks from same origin is ok, then you have something else coming.

  5. Ethnicity is important in the struggle, People have to be represented in a struggle. It matters to even you who is pretending it doesn’t. Let the pretence ends and ends now.

  6. Mr Badjie with all due respect, this is no time of ethnicity. Any group is formed to challenge the Jammeh regime,we see big critics coming up with their funny ideologies. Mr Badjie can we please give this one a try if it will work for us.

  7. Abdoulie darboe

    Great observation gambia is different today we have to be very sensitive!

  8. Mr badjie, i cannot and will never play the ethnic card even without the situation the Gambia is in. Why? My mother is serere dad wollof grandma mandingo and this applies to many Gambians too.

    Gambian is what i call myself and all other citizens. If the ethnicity card was not in the african menu, i strongly believe we would do much better.. what happened in for example Rwanda could have been avoided. Gambians must see each other as Gambians not mandingo, wollof jola etc. Give CORDEG or any other organisation a chance.

    Just speaking my mind bro.

    Have a great day.

  9. The fact is that we comprise of various ethnic groups, who share one country, and each should have equal rights, no ethnic group or tribe should be better than the other (all mankind are equal).

    Perhaps the respected founders of CORDEG should have been more sensitive to the people they want to represent, and try to reflect those hard tribal realities.

    Regrettably, the arrangement of your committee members does not balance at all; I for one will not trust you one bit.

  10. CORDEG,

    Please read Gambia’s recent past and find out why P.S Njie lost to Sir Dawda Jawara. P.S was overtly popular in the Greater Banjul area! But Jawara won!

    We can all keep saying this isn’t time for tribal sentiments. But for God’s sake, CORDEG members, couldn’t you sit and tell yourselves, “Well, even if it’s only these four top people that know how to read and write, let’s still dilute the representation with others so they can feel included”? You didn’t have the wisdom to think that? And you claim to represent Gambia? Is it coincidence all top four are what ever they are?

    Gambians are still very-tribally sensitive. That’s what happens when you have a nation with very low human development, not to mention literacy level. Bring yourself down to their level of thinking–at least the majority! Don’t forget that! Even The U.S.A has Affirmative Action to include minorities in the workforce, sports, etc.

    Any Gambian thinking like I do will rally behind you, CORDEG. That’s because I need anything that will resuce Gambia. But please the average Gambian thinks very differently. They still cling unto things you’ve not considered. Please speak the language of their thought-processing! You’ve only created a golf club, saying it’s for Gambia!

    And please I’ve not written this so you give me any position because I don’t need it. I don’t crave titles or positions. I crave Gambia’s prosperity and anything that stirs about that seriously piques my attention. More about this is forthcoming, insha Allaah!

    EDITOR: Please kindly use this as a “Stop Press” because I’ll write more under the same topic, insha Allaah. I’m time-pressured right now. Thank you indavance.

  11. Mr Badjie. I am a mandingo by origin and wollof by speaking. Good luck to your kids if they coming up speaking mandinka. if you living in America or greater Banjul area. May God bless you.