Progress is often slow and always invisible, and the Gambia’s dissident movement is a quintessential example of this timeless observation. Eight years ago, there were no organized efforts against the political tyranny in Gambia, yet only last year, due to the proliferation of dissident organizations, Gambians were being urged to create a united front, and to coalesce around the theme of political change and removal of the Banjul regime. Concerted efforts to bring all Gambians together around a single leadership began with soon after Dr Amadou S Janneh was released from prison, and even though that effort hit a snag, the dream of unity is still kept alive by necessity in spite of the past trials and tribulations. True, the dissident movement has faced challenges, but opportunities to rise above these transitory limitations are compelled by necessity. The possibilities of what Gambians can achieve, united under a strong leadership are, therefore, the primary driving forces behind the efforts at objective and strategic unity for a cause so dominant in the Gambian mind.
Last month, the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA), was successful in introducing its activities to the broader Gambian and Senegalese population in Dakar. In the same vein, Dr Amadou Janneh and Alieu Ceesay also exerted impressionable amount of pressure on the European Union; encouraging the imposition of limited sanctions and other containment measures against the Banjul regime. Only a week later, CORDEG announced the organization’s new executive line-up, at a time the GCC’s Europe Coordinator, Kebba Nyanchor Sanneh was kicking off a Scandinavian tour with a visit to the Gambian community in Finland. Clearly, a lot of necessary dissident activity is taking place all around the world and overseas Gambians can no longer be faulted for the tragedy of apathy and indifference, but the centralization of Gambians’ activities under a unified leadership is necessary now than ever before.
Gambians and Gambian organizations share objective uniformity; rapid political change and the removal of Yahya Jammeh from power, still, in the spirit of urging Gambians to coalesce around a central leadership against the Gambian regime, GCC has taken an extraordinary step to initiative the public acknowledgement of every Gambian organization and Gambians’ expressed willingness, even desire to work in collaboration with other organizations to hasten political change in the Gambia. To date, GCC members have made several significant, but unofficial, behind the scene contacts with various CORDEG members, and although no concrete action has come out of such efforts, GCC will continue to pursue unity, even as the organization continues in remarkable work of organizing around the world to the challenge of our time. Recently, DUGA’s Ousainou Mbenga contacted GCC, to among other things, express sentiments of unity, re-echoing GCC leader, Dr Sedat Jobe’s previously radio appearances evangelizing the imperativeness of a unity. Clearly, each organization is situated to operate independently of each other, but only in unity does the power to effect rapid political change reside.
The formation of a variety of national and regional Gambian dissident organizations is a no brainer, but fracturing along lines of superficial divisions, runs counter to the intent and purposes of Gambia’s overseas dissident movement. The efforts invested in unifying Gambian organizations that share objective consensus, will help narrow the existing strategic differences, which have been the main sticking point in achieving total diaspora unity. Consequently, GCC continues to call CORDEG, DUGA, CCG and CDCG to coalesce around a single leadership structure in order to maximize efficiency and create the critical mass this struggle needs to succeed. Over the past three years, several groups and organizations paid sporadic visits to European Union, Brussels, to present cases against the Banjul regime. This effort does not include the numerous times some of us in the media have made contacts with the EU since 2004, which prompted GCC to scrap a planned delegation visit to the EU led by Dr Sedat Jobe. Everyone’s efforts are acknowledged, but the necessity of creating order out of the mess and presenting a unified front to the international community, is perhaps long overdue.
Finally, former Gambian Army, Lieut. Colonel Pa Modou Ann, Secretary General of the newly formed, National Resistance Movement of The Gambia, (NRMG), recently made a grand entrance to join the struggle against Yahya Jammeh’s regime. The GCC, in a recent executive meeting, acknowledged the NRMG’s desire for rapid political change and the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in the Gambia. In light of this, GCC is resolved that NRMG subordinate its activities to civil society leadership, thereby help forestall the public opinion that is so deeply corroded by the excruciating experiences of the past two decades under AFPRC military rule. The NRMG has, in principle, agreed to work under minimal civilian supervision and within the boundary acceptable to Gambian civil society organizations. GCC, therefore, looks forward to the day when various dissident civil society organizations, working closely with the NRMG, can finally experience a peaceful political transition in Gambia. In conclusion, GCC calls on DUGA, CORDEG, CCG, CDCG and the NRMG, to finally join forces for the final drive towards political change in Gambia. Meanwhile, GCC looks forward to hear from the various organizations on way to achieve aspirational uniformity in a struggle pot-marked by challenges, but also opportunities. Gambians people expect no less from us.