By A Concerned Gambian
The Diaspora Gambians should perhaps now focus, we believe, on extensive and wider consultations geared towards devising ways and means of addressing and circumventing the current impasse in our legitimate and rightful struggle (irrespective of differences in political ideology, allegiance and approach).
A meeting of minds or convergence of views on burning issues is of critical and paramount importance. It is therefore absolutely necessary to have a forum for fruitful and meaningful discussions on a review of the options pursued for now almost 20 years and to be able to forge ahead on a new course soonest in a bid to bring about the much desired fundamental and beneficial change within our struggle (both at home and abroad).
Notwithstanding tribal or political affiliations and differences but with a common and known enemy, let us now, in a frank and open Diaspora debate devoid of sterile, divisive and partisan exchanges, endeavour to formulate, with a sense of urgency and responsibility, a consensual common strategy, an acceptable road map and a credible way forward for the liberation and advancement of our people in accordance with their legitimate, inalienable and non-negotiable rights and aspirations.
All options (political or military) should be on the table for general discussion and review. In our humble view and learning from the other experiences elsewhere and with the benefit of hind-sight, no option should be ruled out. Being faced with such problematic and controversial situation for the first time in our country’s history and now at a crossroads, perhaps a combination of political, civil and military action should be envisaged. In the circumstances, all Gambian brilliant minds and luminaries should be summoned and all energies marshalled under the clarion call to liberate our people and free our country from the yoke of barbaric tyranny and the shackles of endless oppression by empowering both present and future generations to be able to ensure that never again should we allow such a misplaced and misguided man-made “fatwa” or “natu” (in local parlance) to befall us.
We believe that all our well experienced and highly educated individuals both in the Diaspora and back home in the Gambia (especially political party and civil society leaders) as well as many other political and civil rights activists (male and female), with appreciable political acumen, as well as our vibrant youth should be on board and readily available to offer the requisite important and critical inputs or contributions of sound conceptual and empirical nature to deal with the magnitude and gravity of the task at hand.
Alongside, experts in military matters as those within the NRMG or other known mavericks with military background, experience or expertise may wish to start developing a concept of operations (CONOPS) or Rules of Engagement (ROE) in the event that the military option becomes absolutely inevitable as a last resort or even needs to accompany the political engagement of whatever form.
We must also ensure the buy-in of the international partners and other non-Gambian sympathizers and activists in our struggle. Perhaps it would be necessary, as a start, if we approach some NGOs or charitable entities to help with the organization and funding of such initiative. The online media’s role would be crucial in a sensitization and mobilization campaign which is a sine qua non for the realization and success of this endeavour. To accompany the effort, individual contributions and donations (of whatever form or kind) from other well-wishers and sympathizers would not only demonstrate our seriousness and genuine commitment but would also go a long way in ensuring the ownership and credibility of our struggle in the eyes of the international community.
We will continue the ongoing consultations with other Gambian and non-Gambian protagonists, and would in due course propose , for a general debate and guidance in our democratic discourse, some possible strategies which would entail some of those options already being mooted or bandied around within the struggle (both at home and in the Diaspora). In this connection, we will be submitting, from our side, a draft concept note and possible road map while awaiting our military counterparts to develop their own strategy and action plan for inclusion in the overall blue-print.
It should be understood that we have taken the liberty of making the foregoing proposal for the simple reason that we believe we should not allow ourselves to stagnate in the present quandary or quagmire as we lay back to look for “who will bell the cat”.
The status quo of total inaction and situation of utter paralysis back home in the Gambia is mirrored in the lack of purposeful endeavour and seriously organized collective action in the Diaspora. We are fast becoming toothless bull dogs and paper tigers only good at barking at each other and tearing each other apart.
With a stagnant economy, near collapse of social services, suffocating cost of living, absence of basic liberties, total injustice and enforced impunity back home, we would be failing our own suffering people and doing a great disservice to humanity if we abdicate our responsibility to act and decisively for that matter.
We therefore cannot continue bemoaning endlessly like a jeremiad or crying peevishly and helplessly about the present inordinate stalemate and awkward impasse in our overall just and rightful struggle.
Let us then now get up and try to seriously do something about it.