How many political parties have an up-to-date manifesto clearly articulating their intended governance philosophy and priority programs to improve the nation’s quality of life? I don’t know the answer but if I have to bet I would say only PDOIS. Isn’t that in itself very telling?
Where are the program brochures/documents of any Gambian Civil Society Organization (CSO) showing what problem(s) they exist for, their intended solutions and processes to achieve their goals? All I hear people say is we’re going to coordinate. What are you going to coordinate? I have so far not seen any plan of action of any group or joint groups. What’s there to coordinate – noise?
A group or groups will be needed to carry out a plan. Such a group can be better form had we defined the problem(s), identify the solutions and processes to pursue those solutions. At that point our purpose and tasks will determine how a group constitute. This seems to be the most logical approach but I was reminded there is no one-way of doing something. That maybe right but there is always a most effective and efficient way of doing a given task.
We had several attempts to unite the opposition against Yahya and is yet to work. We’ve tried and still trying to form a group and not sure for what. In as much as that may sound sarcastic – do we assign the supposed group with specific tasks and/or do the group tell us what they going to do and/or what we should do. Either way I hope it’s no more attempt to unite the opposition for another election at least as of now. The lack of defined national problem(s) coupled with our alliances with the opposition camp not only compromised our stand for “A Functioning Institutional Democracy” but it also undermined our abilities to think outside the box (alternatives in this case).
Levering our efforts with the followers of the political parties is a good idea. However it only works when there exist some fair degree of democracy. That’s not the case in Banjul; hence it’s not likely to work as it is. Essentially we have to do something before we can count on using the followers of the political parties.
These facts are sometimes hard to swallow considering the amount of efforts some have put into these efforts. Yet it’s our civic duty to break the bubble and convolutions we created over the years to stand any chance of finding a Gambian solution.
If you’re not directly related to any of these groups but a concerned Gambian, the challenge for you is to help the nation define the problem with a view to come up with solutions that we can carry out. It’s neither enough to keep complaining about Yahya nor should you think is somebody else’s responsibility to fix the problems. The notion that political party leaders, their followers and as well our contemporaries making a living inside the nation will and/or ought to take action is no serious expectation. Someone called it suicidal and I can’t agree more. We’ve to come up with a national solution that whether one is in Banjul or Hong Kong that equitably apportioned roles and responsibilities based on purpose and needed expertise but not purely location. This is very likely to attract the support of our citizens because it’s not about propelling an individual and/or a group to power but to institutionalize democracy. In such a level playing field anyone can freely and fairly seek public service from informed and proactive citizens.
The best answers so far I have heard (not in writing – verbal) are:
- Winning an elections against Yahya
- Yahya died of some mysterious illness
- Civil disobedient
- Military coup.
How practical are any of these options? What’s the likely outcome in the event of any of such options? At best we don’t know what would happen should any of these options happen. At worst which is very possible we will end up with more dictatorship. In fact it’s only elections that have some reasonable chance of producing something close to anything from Jawara’s to Yahya’s. Both are bad in their own right! Either way:-
- After 20 years (period of Yahya’s reign) and/or from independence (49 years ago) – we have no clearly articulated written plan of action that strictly demand Gambia be ‘A Functioning Institutional Democracy and nobody’s private/family firm
- We have political parties and lately bunch of CSOs but no nationally recognized Group missioned to educate, organize and mobilize citizens on democracy and democratic ideals and as well garner global political support for Gambia’s democracy and human rights
- Elections are very important democratic tool but Yahya in charge they’re simply cul de sac. No amount of opposition reshuffling will win an election. There is something out there that needs to be done before we can rely on election. I suggest we seriously begin to find out that something
- Counting on the death of Yahya is not a plan in the first place. It’s a wishful hope. But even if Yahya died today what does that mean for us. The likely possibility is a making of another dictator/dictatorship.
- All the civil disobedient advocates I know are living outside of Gambia. Many are not likely to descend on Banjul to take part in such revolt. The point being they are not credible in their call. One can’t expect and/or demand of others what you can’t do and/or ran away from
- Military coup is very likely to produce a new dictator. Not even sure why we are counting on it as a solution. Did we forget we got Yahya through a military coup? This solution mostly likely comes from those who only see Yahya as the problem but not the absence of democracy. These two are completely different and Yahya wasn’t the cause of the former although I must admit he’s a bad guy and had opportunities to fix it.
As a people we should endeavor to search for practical solutions that anyone amongst us called upon by your peers can participate as demanded and/or expected. We can’t keep hoping that the vibrant activism among few thousands in Europe and America will be enough for a fix. To continually blame Yahya without taking concrete actions will neither help. We can’t seriously advocate for acts that we will not participate ourselves. We can’t continue organizing and reorganizing without a defined purpose. It seems logical to me before you buy a vehicle you ought to know your needs – for instance if you’re simply commuter, or a farmer, or plumber and/or cable-guy. Each of these trades will inform you a vehicle good enough to serve your particular purpose. Unfortunately anytime we meet instead of articulating the problem we mostly aggravate towards forming some organization. These intra and/or inter outsourcing of what we should do as citizens is largely holding our progress in the right direction. The articulation of the problem will helps inform what kind of vehicle (organization) would be needed.
I think its time that we demand from all organizations to share with the rest of the nation in writing the following: What is the problem as they see it? What are their plans for a fix? What kind of vehicle would be necessary to carry out such a plan? What would be their role if called upon by their peers? What resources would likely be needed for such a plan? A 3-5-page outline will be helpful for a start!
If after 20 years anyone of us can’t come up with at least a 3-5-page outline of Problem – solutions – vehicle, then you are not valuable contributing. At this point we should endeavor to reduce noise and embark on some serious work. Whatever is going to fix Gambia has to come from Gambians. Who are we waiting to tell us what’s needed to be done?
Burama FL Jammeh
The People’s Movement For Democratic Gambia
810 844 6040