Committee for the Restoration of Democracy to the Gambia (CORDEG) has finally shared its Vision and Mission Statements to the public, stressing its willingness to work tirelessly with all Gambians and the International Community to “address the Gambia’s democratic deficit, social and economic inequities, critical to the realization of fundamental political freedoms and to help guide the transition to a truly democratic Gambia.”
Find below a verbatim copy of CORDEG’s document:
Vision & Mission Statements
The Committee for the Restoration of Democracy
in The Gambia
The Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in the Gambia (CORDEG) is an independent, non-profit transnational democratic umbrella organization that is committed to peaceful, non-violent democratic change in the Gambia. It is home to Gambian opposition political parties and Civil Society organizations at home and in Gambia’s various Diasporas.
CORDEG is the by-product of a two-day Unity Conference on Democracy and Good Governance, held in Raleigh North Carolina on 17th to 19th May, 2013. There, numerous dissident diaspora groups and political party leaders from The Gambia, Senegal, Europe, and the USA were represented, and following the convention and passage of the Raleigh Accord, a Steering Committee (SC) was set up, leading to nominations and election of an Executive Committee (EC). CORDEG, therefore, enjoys wide mandate and legitimacy, as the recognized representative and voice of the Gambian opposition the world-over. CORDEG is a progressive organization that is aimed at facilitating dialogue among Gambians about the Gambia, with a view to finding solutions to our country’s myriad problems. The organisation is determined and committed to ending impunity and dictatorship in The Gambia. CORDEG recognizes the autonomy of its constituent members as equal partners in the struggle to democratize The Gambia. What unites these groups, political parties, and civil-society organizations is a singular overarching goal to restore democracy in the Gambia, and “give power back to the people.”
CORDEG, states clearly and unequivocally that it is not a government-in-waiting, but will endeavor to work with all pro-democracy groups, including political parties, to establish a new political and social dispensations for the Gambia.
Two decades into the 1994 coup d’état that overthrew the democratically elected President, Sir Dawda K. Jawara and his PPP government in the Gambia, euphoria over the coup has long given way to autocratic rule and harrowing poverty. President Yahya Jammeh’s ineffective leadership combined with gross human rights violations, endemic corruption and mal-governance, have plunged the country into despotism, unsustainable external indebtedness, growing ethnic tensions, and political instability. Having appropriated International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank economic reform and governance vocabulary- accountability, transparency, probity, President Jammeh disingenuously used this language to stem international and local criticisms and pressures, to undertake genuine domestic political and economic reforms.
Currently, The Gambia finds itself isolated internationally, mainly because of the government’s poor human rights and governance records. As recently as September 2012, nine death-row inmates, including several political prisoners were executed despite worldwide appeals for clemency. President Jammeh likewise, constantly and publicly insults the Gambia’s major aid donors, the European Union, Japan, the Commonwealth, and the U.S.A and continues to ignore demands for long overdue political reforms. In 2013 President Jammeh unilaterally withdrew Gambia’s membership of the Commonwealth and severed ties with the regime’s main financial backer, Taiwan. And, as state coffers have all but collapsed, he has now been forced to solicit needed funds from countries that include Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and some oil-rich Gulf States.
As a growing market for small-arms in the sub-region, fueling in particular, the Casamance conflict in Senegal and also a transit point for illicit drugs bound for the United States of America and Europe, President Yahya Jammeh has transformed this poor country into a hub for several international criminal enterprises, including a thriving blood-diamonds trade and money-laundering amongst other criminalities.
The geo-political frictions these criminal activities are causing to sub-regional peace and stability are being felt in the continuing armed insurgency in southern Senegal, the Cassamance and in the political infightings and assassinations further afield in neighbouring Guinea Bissau. In the recently ended fratricidal war in Sierra Leone, the president of the Gambia was known to have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the illicit trade in Blood Diamond, as high ranking members of his inner circle were implicated in a UN Report on the notorious trade in conflict diamonds. He was also involved in arms running to convicted war criminal and disgraced former Liberian president Charles Taylor and the same UN Report also identified one Millennium Airline, a private registered jet operating out of Gambia and rumored to belong to president Jammeh, being used for arms shipments to Taylor. President Jammeh poses a real danger to sub-regional peace and stability and CORDEG aims to expose and arrest his criminal economic exploitation of conflict and human suffering.
In the second decade of the twentieth-first century that is fast-changing and globalizing, Gambia and Gambians find themselves at a crossroads in which there are two choices: (a) continue to leave their affairs in the hands of an inept and corrupt autocrat that has routinely oppressed them, or (b) go back to the drawing board and craft a new national political-economic vision predicated on democratic principles, individual and group political and civil rights, economic prosperity, and justice, especially, for the poor, women and children.
CORDEG’s Vision is a new Gambia built on unbending respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, including social and economic justice; a Gambia anchored on the foundations of constitutional governance, rule of law and democratic values and served by dedicated workers, accountable to the supreme consensus of her citizens.
CORDEG believes that all Citizens are equal before the law and must enjoy equally the benefits of citizenship in a Gambia in which all peoples who live within her borders can legitimately pursue individual and collective goals, within a stable economy, without let, hindrance or poverty.
CORDEG will work with all sections of the Gambian community to build this vision of Gambia, hand in hand with all stakeholders, upholding our traditional respect for different ideologies, creeds, ethnicities and political affiliations, whether living at home or domicile in the Diaspora, that reflect Gambia’s diverse national character.
As we lay the foundations of this new Gambia, CORDEG will remain a democratic whole of its constituent parts, representing a broad range of ideas, strategies and plans aimed at defeating tyranny in our country through peaceful agitation and building in its place a just, stable and prosperous Gambia.
CORDEG in collaboration with all Gambians and the International Community will work tirelessly to address Gambia’s democratic deficit, social and economic inequities, critical to the realization of fundamental political freedoms and to help guide the transition to a truly democratic Gambia.
The Raleigh Accord:
*Concerned about the deteriorating political, economic, social and human rights conditions in The Gambia which resulted from the unfortunate event of the AFPRC / APRC coup on July 22, 1994
*Recognizing that the national political leadership (the opposition) has not relented in its efforts to restore sanity to Gambian politics;
*Aware that the failure of these efforts to achieve the desired goal of restoring true democracy is largely attributable to the unorthodox and criminal strategies employed by the Jammeh dictatorship;
*Realizing that the fragmentation of the efforts of the opposition significantly undermined their impact;
*Cognizant of the urgent need to put in place a centralized coordinating mechanism that would, inter-alia, coordinate the activities and efforts of the various opposition groups and camps, and in effect, serve as the face of the struggle to restore democracy, the rule of law and good governance to The Gambia;
*The proposed structure will not seek to usurp the roles/rights of the individual parties and groups, but will strive to coordinate their efforts and strategies with a view to achieving the desired results.
*That GDAG, STGDP, DUGA convened a conference in Raleigh North Carolina from the 17th to the 19th May 2013 to bring together the key players in the field (heads of political parties, politicians, civil society, and the media to dialogue and consult on the way forward.
*The delegates assembled in Raleigh, NC have agreed to the following:
A. To form a Steering Committee (SC) to pursue an agenda for democratic change in The Gambia.
B. That the SC shall be responsible for the effective crafting and representation of the Agenda for change.
C. That the SC will identify and work with groups, organizations and institutions that are engaged in the struggle to promote good governance, democracy and the rule of law.
D. That the SC will serve as a link between the opposition movement in the Diaspora, political parties and civil society organizations and the media on the ground to promote the agenda for change.
E. The SC shall initiate contact with regional, sub-regional and international bodies and organizations with a view to enlist their support towards finding peaceful and democratic solutions to the Gambian political situation.
F. The SC shall mobilize the required funding and other logistics for the struggle and the agenda for change.
G. The SC shall encourage and support the reform agenda outlined by the G6.
The conference directs the conveners of the Raleigh gathering, STGDP, GDAG and DUGA-DC to act as committee pro-temp with the responsibility to put in place the permanent Steering Committee comprising representatives from Africa, North America, and Europe within 4 weeks.
Pursuant to the mandate of the Raleigh Accord and recalling resolutions B-G of the same Accord
CORDEG’s mandate is to build a consensus blue print and a roadmap to a new democratic Gambia in which individual and group rights are respected and protected. CORDEG, in concert with all Gambians, is also committed to engaging in conversations and consultations leading to a democratic transition and the birth of a new post-Jammeh political dispensation. CORDEG believes, that this new Gambia must be an egalitarian and fully inclusive state and the government of the day, must serve all citizens equally, irrespective of tribe, creed or patronage, and must actively enable the marginalized and excluded sections of our society, women, children and the less fortunate, to participate fully in national decision making. To achieve these objectives, CORDEG, along with its partners, will endeavour to lay the building blocks of a Gambia in which citizens and all who reside within its borders can enjoy basic political and civil rights, as well as the right to pursue legitimate economic goals, guaranteed and protected under a people’s constitution.
CORDEG, working alongside all civil society organizations groups, political parties, and their leaders, will strive toward long-term national self-reliance in which the social and economic rights and the basic needs of citizens are provided through and by responsive state institutions and agencies, which are accountable to the Gambian people and open to public scrutiny; where every citizen can thrive to the best of their ability, unencumbered by the state and or other traditional barriers.
CORDEG, in the end, is committed to working in solidarity with the international community, and the international financial institutions, to build a New Gambia that will once again enjoys respect and goodwill amongst her peers; a country that will take her rightful place among respected nations of the world, including the Commonwealth of nations and fulfilling her obligations as a sovereign state among the community of nations, beholden only to the expressed will of its people and compliant with international law and acceptable norms of international diplomatic standards.
Dated: 20th March 2014
CORDEG’s ORGARNISATIONAL PROFILE
CORDEG is constituted by the following three (3) key Branches:-
- 1. The Steering Committee, SC:-
The SC is the main governing branch of CORDEG, comprising, as it does, of representative members from the Constituent organizations of CORDEG as well as individual Activists.
- 2. The Executive Committee, EC:-
The EC is the management branch of CORDEG and consists of the following three (3) offices:
(c) Secretary General (SG)
i. The EC is CORDEG’s top-tier administrative group, responsible for overall policy, strategy and implementation of CORDEG’s programs and projects, with the Secretary General (SG) serving as the hub for CORDEG’s specialized Committees/Directorates.
ii. The EC is also responsible for Foreign Affairs/International Diplomacy, strategic partnerships and overall management of CORDEG.
- 3. The Specialized Subcommittees/Directorates, SC/D:-
The SC/D consists of the following 9 offices:-
(a) Finance and Fundraising
(b) Legal Affairs;
(c) Political Affairs;
(d) Communications/ Media/Research;
(f) Women Affairs
(g) Youth Affairs
(h) Administration/ Logistics/ Technology/ Procurement.
Specialized Committees/Directorates; are encouraged to co-opt members from both within and outside CORDEG Steering Committee in order to advance the Committee’s aims and objectives
Overview of Specialized Committee/Directorate Responsibilities:-
Each committee shall spell-out a plan of action detailing committee, as well as member responsibilities, in the execution of its mandate/ tasks. The plan should detail the strategy for fulfilling these mandates.
i. Directorate: Finance and Fundraising: Treasures; Auditor; Fundraising.
ii. Directorate: Legal Affairs: Asylum; Migration; Legal Defense; National/International Protocols/ Litigation
iii. Directorate: Political Affairs: Organization; Mobilization (rallies, demonstrations, conferences and strategizing with like-minded groups and organizations and establish taskforces for specialized issue areas); Advocacy (post-Jammeh political structure for Gambia); Outreach (to political opposition parties with two representatives from the latter)
iv. Directorate: Communications/Media/Research: Messaging, Projecting and Coordinating CORDEG’s objectives; Press releases, targeting, and raising awareness of Diaspora Gambians and Gambians at home; Initiate research on topics, issues relevant to achieving CORDEG objectives
v. Directorate: Security and Intelligence: Extensive/ Intensive data/information gathering to further CORDEG Objectives
vi. Directorate: Women: Representing, and promoting interests of this constituency, while embedding aforementioned principles in specialized committee governance and operations. Promote and cultivate a culture of tolerance for women and youth voices within CORDEG
vii. Directorate: Youth Affairs:
viii. Directorate: Administration/Logistics/Technology: Oversee day-to-day running of CORDEG in close collaboration with Executive Committee, in particular, Secretary General/ Secretariat; and help coordinate and manage meetings, technology, travel, Procurement etc.