By Mai Fatty
Dr Saine may be a great activist or academic. Instead of uniting, he has proven incapable to hold the units together. Instead of fostering consensus and unity, his leadership produced dissension, disunity, acrimony and endless internal bickering.
I have been silent since the withdrawal of GMC from CORDEG as an entity on the eve of its strategic ‘selection’ of executive members duped ‘an election’. Prior to that deliberate selection as opposed to an election which we refused to be a part of, I had publicly declined from all nominations on the grounds that prior political commitments consume most of my valuable time.
Nonetheless, it became crystal clear to us that the nomination process was anomalous. In our view, it was anything but democratic, although it was painstakingly made to appear so. We had perceived the electioneering process patently unfair and fundamentally flawed, and we protested against this. Our internal correspondences with CORDEG would prove this right. I am compelled to speak now because I am fed up of this constant reference by CORDEG of the inclusion of opposition Parties. Let me state our side of the story.
The United Alliance which comprise the UDP and GMC have ceased cooperation with CORDEG, and by implication ceased to be part of it, with the UDP leader out of the loop for a long time. According to our experience, it treats the internal opposition with contempt, and thereby denying itself the dignity to be formally notified. However there is something called constructive notice. PDOIS, led by Hon. Halifa Sallah and GPDP led by Hon. Henry Gomez, distanced themselves from CORDEG since inception before it changed its name, while Hamat Bah’s NRP also ceased participation in CORDEG for a year. That leaves only PPP in CORDEG.
How on earth could any person claim that the opposition subscribes to CORDEG when 99.99% of the home opposition gave it their back? Those false claims should stop. CORDEG’s clear will to subjugate the internal opposition Parties as it appears to us in practice, also succeeded in totally alienating all of us but one.
Individual members such as Hon. James Jeggan Bahoum, Mr. Abdoulai I. B Jobe, Mr. Sarjo Bayang, Mr. Banka Manneh, Mr. Kejau Touray, Mr. Pa Samba Jow, etc with whom I have had more direct or specific personal dealings on matters Gambian, are some of the most committed Gambians in our history. They are some of the most patriotic and genuine Gambians there ever shall be, in pursuit of what Hon. Bahoum aptly describes as “the national enterprise for the liberation of The Gambia”. I would, without an iota of hesitation, bow out of any national responsibility in deference to any of them. This is not casting aspersions on other individual CORDEG members with whom I have not had the privilege of interaction.
I make this remorseless assertion to drive home the inevitable truth that the strength of character of certain individual CORDEG members does not translate to its organisational vitality as an entity. Clearly, its leadership has proven unable or unwilling to properly harness, coordinate and put to work the enormous intellect, cumulative experience, skill and talent at its disposal. There is a dearth of leadership, which must be resolved urgently with Dr, Saine and deputy out of the equation.
Let me re-echo for those on the search for a bout: our relationship with certain individual CORDEG members at this stage supersedes our regard for CORDEG as currently constituted at the top, and for some such, it will remain forcefully relevant now and in the future. CORDEG as an organisation no longer enjoys the support, loyalty and confidence of the opposition Parties.
The controversies besmearing CORDEG have been poorly handled or managed and accentuated by Dr. Saine and his deputy. He may be a great activist or academic. Nonetheless, his short reign witnessed not only some of the most hostile, acrimonious exchanges among stakeholders within CORDEG, but also the withdrawal of the opposition Parties including GMC, and key figures like Dr. Sedat Jobe and late Hon. Buba Baldeh. Instead of uniting, he has proven incapable to hold the units together. Instead of fostering consensus and unity, his leadership produced dissension, disunity, acrimony and endless internal bickering.
CORDEG does not even observe protocol in the exercise of functions or respect the jurisdiction of certain offices it created. He needs to bow out to allow CORDEG a sigh of relief, and without which, CORDEG will go down in history as a failure. The constituent elements of CORDEG such as DUGA, etc have proven to be much more effective, operating outside of its framework. It has not as an entity registers any direct tangible impact on the struggle, apart from issuing abstract theoretical concepts.
CORDEG under Dr. Saine does not represent the national struggle, but only itself. It is unqualified to speak for the public but itself. It should desist from pretending to possess public legitimacy or mandate, least of all from the legitimate home opposition. It is obvious to all that CORDEG is disintegrating into parts. First it was a splinter in the nature of GCC; then the opposition Parties, and now GDAG. We cannot all be wrong. It is time for Saine to toe the path of honour and resign. If he insists on squatting at the top, CORDEG will eventually be forced to a grinding halt. Mark my words.