A disaporan Gambian journalist has written an open letter to the Chairman of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in the Gambia (CORDEG) Professor Abdoulaye Saine. Yero Jallow, whose letter is published verbatim below, believes “that CORDEG has been reduced to a celebrity organization.”
Dear Professor Saine,
I write to you openly to convey my greeting of peace.
Having followed the activities of the Diaspora for quite a while, I am compelled by the dire urgency of now, to come out with this ‘tough love’ way of reaching out. It wasn’t an easy decision to arrive at, but after some deep thinking, it is only fair to my conscience that I engage you, at least for posterity reference.
As it stands, with the many known Diaspora groupings, I see that CORDEG have been reduced to a celebrity organization, with a lesser constituency base, relying solely on issuing press releases, perhaps to show people that the organization is still there. The organization that started well with good intentions failed short. I am not here to speculate what might have transpired on the way to its final birth, but quite honest, some of the very people that attended the Raleigh accord have since taken different routes and others joined other organizations. Lawyer Martin, BB Dabo, and Dr. Seedat Jobe are just a few examples. Some of the very people that initiated the Raleigh call, backed off, and some others through elections lost, and took their comfort corners. GDAD [Gambia Democratic Action Group] participated greatly in the Raleigh get-together and how none of GDAD’s members made it to the current CORDEG executive remains a matter of talk. We know for a fact from reliable sources that they were interested and are equally capable. If GDAD’s misfortune was losing elections, the question is then how were the elections conducted? Mai Fatty of the GMC resigned before the elections for reasons that he communicated with CORDEG’s steering committee. These are all good indications that the good plan was aborted. You probably have an explanation for all these, but CORDEG’s long silence during the process, as well as the lots of hands involved, probably saw it wise to confine information within, which turns out to backfire as lack of transparency on the process, giving room to speculations and counter speculations, a case in point was the leaking of CORDEG’s preparatory documents. The leak in my view was in demonstration of something that one of your own brought out in an effort to stop something unpleasant or at least show opposition to some ideas that the person disagreed with. The steering committee of CORDEG should have engaged the people continually rather than just surface something at the last minute on citizens. Such a way of engaging a constituency certainly leads to loss of trust and people will feel that they are not represented enough. I do not doubt anyone’s sincerity, but our methodology must be changed, if we want a different result to what we’ve all been doing all these years.
It is so hard to identify CORDEG’s Diaspora constituency, if not for the serving executive, who are currently being swayed by Diaspora criticism, and survival as it seems, is very slim. Pretty much, CORDEG, like some of the pioneer organizations, is on its way to cavalry. The recent emergence of other organizations like the NRMG and GCC is a clear indication of the “mistrust” or loss of confidence in CORDEG’s initial vision. It is an open secret that the many organizations has given room for more Diaspora fracture, at least if unity is defined by number of people in an organization. How CORDEG intends to establish bases in different states and countries remains a concern for me, especially where it has to compete with equally viable organizations with almost the same operational agenda.
In my view, the Raleigh group has failed to galvanize the Diaspora as intended. Raleigh by now should have shown something that shows that they will be able to bring all the oppositions back home together. Clear indication was the absence of PDOIS and Hon. Halifa’s stance on the matter at the material time. You probably have some other works in the pipeline, no doubts, but one thing you ruled out is supporting a military intervention or some citizen uprising to dislodge the tyrannical regime. So with the latter in mind, it leaves CORDEG to probably just lobbying in some of the international organizations to have sanctions and travel bans pulled on Jammeh and his cabinet members. I am not sure CORDEG clearly indicated that as well. With the current structure of the Diaspora, I see that task very challenging, again competing with the many groups doing the same.
I hold that you as a political scientist must have realized from the way things are unfolding, you are probably being set up for failure by our existing circumstance, or even bigger the fact that your reputation is being put to great test.
On that note and base on my humble observation, I call on you to review things quickly and suggest dissolving CORDEG, or offering a resignation, if at all CORDEG’s initial vision won’t be achieved, to safeguard your long standing respect and honor.
Professor Saine, with all the respect due, and I wish you well in all the positive endeavors.
Yero, another servant of the silent voices and people of the Gambia.
“There is no god but Allah; & Muhammad (SAW) is His messenger”
By Yero Jallow