A Draft Outline For Political Strategy For A Proposed National Front
a) That The Gambia Equally Belongs To All Who Were Born In The Country Or whose parents, or one of the parents, were born in the country and are concerned about the country’s good.
b) That multi-party democracy, rule of law, accountability and transparency are the most suitable system of Governance the majority of Gambians want and ought to strive for.
c) That majority vote prevails over all the decision making processes of the front.
d) That all artificial divides, based on ethnic, religious, regional or racial particularisms, are not worthy of any consideration in the Front’s affairs.
e) Local residence inside the country does not carry heavier weight of voice in the same vein, greater financial contribution towards the front’s political work does not necessarily accord greater say in the decision making process.
f) That it is the right and obligation of each and every Gambian, individual or group, to strive to change the autocratic dispensation that today prevails in the country by all means necessary, excluding violence. That when all the chance of peaceful change are fully exhausted as declared by a congress of delegates of the United Front, then it shall be dissolved or other means of struggle reconsidered.
1 Objectives > To bring about peaceful political change in order to restore multiparty democracy in the country.
2. Method> Through the strengthening of united Front of all the political parties, human rights, civil society, community-based and non-governmental, professional associations and faith and gender-based groups, youth organizations, and concerned individual citizens etc, active inside The Gambia.
> Through the building of a caucus of all the elected and unelected independent candidates in the two previous legislative and local government elections (2006- 2008 and 2011-2012)
> Through the forge of a Diaspora Front of all Gambian émigré, political, self-help and mutual-help, and religious, social and football associations
These three above-designated political spheres shall constitute the three corner-stones of the United National Front, (in local parlance they can be called Sinkiri Saboo or Nyeti Chiinli). The United National Front is just a generic working-name in this document. An eventual founding congress will decide on a proper name for the envisaged front.
How to bring about a successful coordination of the activities of the three spheres (aims, types, nature, sequencing of activities clandestine, or otherwise), structural relations and division of responsibilities between the three will become Strategic Organizational Questions. Promoting the growth, expansion and advancement of the particular spheres shall constitute the Tactical Organizational Questions.
A. Sphere One: The Established Home-based Political Parties
Strength : The strength of the political opposition parties has been the steadfastness of the leaders in the face of a lawless and therefore unpredictable foe and the growing discernible failures of the regime and with it, the proportionate fall in its popularity. The higher moral ground they stand.
Weakness: The parties have very many and varied weaknesses. Generally they lack political direction and lack a road map that sheds light on the way forward, the pitfalls lying on the way and how to surmount the threats they pose, onwards to victory. Many of the parties are without any organizational structures, no to speak of any system of inner party democracy and some are little better than one-man set-ups. They are unable to battle the regime in platforms other than governance and human rights issues. Alternative Policies on growth and development in agriculture, job creation, education, health, tourism, macro-economic and foreign policies, etc, if formulated, have not been sufficiently articulated and made known to the general public. Many opposition politicians therefore expect voters to vote for them because of who they are and not what they want to do. Some consciously or not, do not even feel the need to spell out alternative policies to politic around, suffice to lay back and wait for voters to get disenchanted with the regime and, by default, resort to them. This leaves the parties incapable of or unable to take initiatives in the country’s political affairs. The initiative has long been with the regime and the home-based political parties have merely been reacting to the regime’s policies, steps and measures.
Another elemental weakness of the political opposition is the scarcity of resources. Donors are few, financial support scanty and ability for sound and imaginative fund-raising activities nearly absent. Above all, the biggest weakness of them all is that as the saying goes, people get the leaders they deserve, if this is true it must be as true with opposition leaders as with the governing party.
Unfortunately, Gambians have been laid back as far as national affairs are concerned. There is more enthusiasm for English football, for instance, than Gambian politics here. Mass ignorance, the apathy that the religious theory of predestination often generates, the ineptitude of many political leaders across the board, all these, plus of course other factors, have added up to make the average citizen politics-shy. One of the main but overlooked systemic deficiencies of the First Republic was the failure of citizens to rise up to the (the natural social charter between governors and the governed) participatory role cut out for them in multiparty democracies. Multi-party democracy is like a two team game where both must participate for there to be any game; the system tends to lose its vibrancy and impact when one team fails to turn up. This apathy naturally limits the capacity of followers to sufficiently inspire the cadre of opposition political leaders for some of the sacrifices required. Followers must be supportive enough to leaders to warrant them demand sacrifices from leaders.
Then there is what looks like an endemic or chronic disease in the Gambian body-politic, the inability of Gambian political leaders, across the board, to unite their parties around issues, or for adding together their voters around single candidates in order to maximize electoral chances. This is perhaps because they are not running their politics over concrete issues that can be united around or that they can disagree on. Since the days of the Democratic Congress Alliance of the 1950s, Gambian political alliances have only been matters of political expediency, the chemistry of the personalities involved or of opportunistic electoral tactics. As this document is being developed the local, political terrain has become more complicated with divisions appearing triangular rather than bi-polar.
There is perhaps little that repels the average voter further from the Gambian political scene and its opposition actors than the manifest inability of Gambian political leaders to forge alliances. How to bring about more unity among the opposition political parties is an extremely difficult task and is perhaps impossible before the 2016 election season takes off. This proposal, or any other adopted, must seriously consider going it without all the registered opposition parties on board. However, efforts at generating greater political understanding, building greater unity and forging alliances among the opposition parties must never be abandoned however difficult they appear to be.
As this document is being developed the results of the Kiang West constituency by-elections were announced with only about 33% of voters turning out and the APRC sweeping the polls, beating the NRP candidate threefold in a constituency that had steadfastly UDP since the birth of the Second Republic. Many say the NRP suspects that the UDP has not urged voters there to vote for its candidate and that this might have been its reason for not taking part in the rallies. We were not surprise when the NRP also withdraws from the Raleigh Understanding.
Whatever, the Kiang West scenario is a macrocosm of the greater national political scene. A substantial section of voters boycotted the polls in compliance with the UDP stance, perhaps a smaller portion went to the polls to punish the NRP for not joining the Group of Six in their boycott even if the NRP got a paltry 500-plus votes as backlash to the President’s recent anti-Mandinka outbursts. But this is clearly to the perpetual wish of the regime. The divisions within the opposition now appear tri-partite, with the UDP, PPP & GMC, on one part, PDOIS on the other and NRP on the third, with each having an axe to grind with the other. The opposition parties appear to have fallen because they are divided and divided because they have fallen.
Opportunities: Most of the opportunities that have come on the way of the political opposition have not come out of the result of its planned and pre-targeted activities, events or happen stances initiated by them; they stem out of the self-damaging policies, steps and measures of the regime. Opposition politicians have not only failed independently to create and make use of opportunities for their parties they have also not been able to add impact on the many opportunities that frequently erupt out of the regime’s political idiocy.
Over the last two years the regime has been able to alienate fresh sections of the population, including members of the Muslim clergy with the arrests of Imam Ismaila Manjang of Gunjur, Ba Kawsu Fofana and Imam Baba Leigh. Even before this many Muslims have been alarmed by the regime’s persistent intrusion into Muslim affairs. All these have opened up greater opportunities for courting new alliances into the opposition without tainting the secular character of the struggle. This, the political opposition, if they consider as an opportunity, they are yet to grab it. Almost on a weekly, if not daily basis, the regime, either by mistake but mostly from political ineptitude, create opportunities but most are left to slide away. It has alienated business people with the onslaughts of economic strangulation it has waged against them. The civil service is highly embittered by the rampant politicization, open discrimination, promotional favoritisms and lack of consideration for due processes. Bakers, butchers, fish mongers, importers, sand miners, financial service deliverers, etc, have all become disenchanted with the dictatorship providing fertile ground for courting, attracting and recruiting. Families and clans drop to this category on a weekly basis with the regime’s trade-mark practice of arrests, detention, torture and disappearances. These days the regime has very few genuine supporters, those who do are ones who feel they must appear to be supporting if they are to avoid the regime’s repressive arm. These are all opportunities to make gains on.
Threats: The opposition parties are today faced with many threats. Among them are the possibility for them to be met with increasing repression, possibly being banned, leaders jailed or assassinated or pushed to the wayside by another military coup. The difficulties of forging some kind of unity among them risk being seen by the broad masses of voters as self-seeking politicians that ought to be ‘punished’ by voters.
But perhaps the biggest threat they currently face is the political deadlock brought about by the election boycotts they launched in 2012 and the regime’s lack of response to their demands. This deadlock, which has been about nineteen months now, can drag on to the point where they will be considered irrelevant by the broad masses of electorate. The regime has realized that the opposition parties, or Group Of Six, have unwittingly plunged themselves into a formidable trap that is very desirable for it but very difficult for the G6 to wriggle out of. The mistake was to opt for a venture without any exit strategy. In the current circumstances the regime reigns over a de facto one-party situation made more palatable by the participation of one of the parties, which this way, engages in some sort of shadow boxing with the regime to help it keep up the appearance of multi-party elections in a functional democracy. The regime therefore wants to make the current status quo protracted if not permanent. During the last local government elections the IEC set up an electoral calendar that allocated nomination days for the APRC, NRP ,PDOIS and Independent candidates without mentioning the UDP. This shows somehow, what the regime thinks of the current situation. The Group of Six appear to be in a blind alley, not knowing what to do with one member even stating that they are waiting for a mediation by an outsider to come help bring about dialogue and return to normalcy.
The biggest threats to opposition unity at the moment are the reluctance of PDOIS to be associated with the Raleigh initiative and a likely NRP pull out, particularly after it refused to be part of the December 14th & 15th rallies of the UDP, PPP and GMC. In fact as this manuscript is being developed the NRP appears to have some misgivings since with the Raleigh spirit as its name was absent among the named organizers of the December 14th & 15th political rallies in Serekunda and Brikama by the UDP, PPP and GMC political parties.
A Way Forward: As politics is also an art of the possible, there ought to be no waiting for anybody, much less a foreign dignitary from a far-away land. Instead of waiting one could have made the issues surrounding the boycott burning, current and properly laid out to the masses of electoral voters across the country if only to measure the barometer of interest and opinion on the issues. Waiting is a word unknown in the vocabulary of politics, especially when it concerns taking or not taking part in elections.
a) The Group of Six must consider if indeed it is not time for a tactical retreat from the boycott action, prepare for the next season of elections in terms of the configuration of the alliance, a minimum transition programme, agreed processes and choice of flag-bearer, funding, etc.
b) The way out of the current malaise that the political opposition is in must be one that enhances the strength of the parties and organizations, that helps reduce the weaknesses and helps in facilitating the maximum use of opportunities to be able to meet any threats. The parties must strive to recruit more members and establish clear demarcation between party supporters who provide votes in elections and increase numbers in gatherings. Party militants, on the other hand, are those who volunteer to do party work, who contribute ideas and information into the party and who contribute financially or materially for the sustenance of the party organization. The parties must work to have the farthest political spread while tactically accommodating each other in order to have maximum weight against the ruling party. The parties without structures must endeavour to work on establishing them now, before the end of 2014.
c)- One of the main deficiencies of the current (perhaps as well as the previous) Gambian body-politic has been its shortage of political issues. The politics of both the ruling party, as well as those opposed to it, rarely deal with policy issues other than the ones on governance and human rights. The average voter has come to associate the regime with one with a practical development agenda that has so far offered more schools, clinics, new or reconstructed roads, water and electricity, university, television net , etc, etc. Those yet without these services, knowing what has obtained with neighbours, have reasonable hopes that the same will be delivered to them if only they can show their support for the regime and the Leader personally. The opposition parties ought not to give up on the criticism of the regime’s poor human rights records and bad governance, but they should be able to accommodate a wider range of other issues in their narrative and propaganda efforts.
d)-Also, the opposition parties must always be seen giving their conditional support to some of the achievements of the regime while being critical to the other obvious shortcomings, failures and poor leadership. They should not only criticize negatively but must also come out with proposals for rectification and remedy-suggestions. Ability to concede an opponent always bolsters the credibility of one’s argument.
They ought to be seen applauding strides in infrastructure development while questioning their priority-value, wastefulness, implementation delays, accountability and transparency, possible discrimination in the choice of targeted beneficiaries.
e)- All that the opposition parties talk about is the regime’s violations of its own laws, constitution and the rights of it citizens. But the majority of voters are those so oppressed and marginalized that human rights and good governance do not figure out too prominently in neither the hierarchy of their priorities nor their view of political leadership or what modern governments are expected to deliver..”But If those violations are short-cuts to prosperity for all, why not?” some of them would wonder, others would say, “This our president is the best for corrupt government officials, he does not take them to the law, he deals with them summarily. “ Some might not even border to wonder over it.
f)- The opposition parties cannot of course stop nagging about human rights, but should try aiding rights groups to take more of the responsibilities so as to be able to sufficiently de-emphasize their rhetoric on rights violations and accommodate more bread-and-butter issues. Another option is to give the rights violations a cause and effect narrative linking violations of the rights with other mundane issues by for instance saying that the regimes violations, (are not because of its natural violent and brutal nature) are in order be left in peace to carry out its kleptocratic goal of robbing the state, making it incapable of delivering what it should to the masses of citizens. Such logical linkage will provide a scenario more plausible and more likely to make marginalized masses look beyond the horizons of farm and hovel, to cast a glance at developments in Banjul and Kombo Tubabu Banko, and eventually Human Rights and Governance.
h)-None of the parties have succeeded in having its name tagged with issues in the mind of voters . They are all tagged with the names of their respective leaders. But the issues are there out in the minds, lives and livelihoods of citizens and voters. It is the task of political leaders to identify the issues, formulate policy directions out of them and to present them in a way that the imagination of targeted voter groups can be captured.
i)-The political parties must also revisit the methods through which their messages are transmitted. Rallies are good for demonstration of numbers, for visibility, whipping up of enthusiasm, which is good for boosting the morale of members, supporters and sympathizers , but they are not always the best medium for the systematic laying out of a political narrative. The parties should consider the increasing use of indoor lectures and door-to-door canvassing. The use of hired halls or yards in homes of members or supporters do not only require less to do with police permit , less need for public-address-systems and hence less resources, they can also provide a more interactive discourse, more contemplative atmosphere and more convincing results for driving home messages.
NB: As this document is being developed many young UDP supporters who had convened at the Tanji Community Center for a social gathering were dispersed and rounded up by the police for alleged illegal gathering. They were released when UDP leader Lawyer intervened. A leader of the party’s was arrested and detained. The recommendation is to defy police intervention and pursue this method of gathering, spreading it across the country.
j)-Another thing the parties should try is the use of new technologies and media forms, like social media, mobile technology and so on. Group broadcasts or sending of sms to many recipients with short and concise political messages, slogans or catchwords particularly on politically sensitive dates like the anniversaries of the murder of known victims; on price hikes, corruption scandals, etc.
K(-Yet another thing the parties at home should consider is the use of the local radio media inside the country. Under current conditions we cannot reasonably expect access to the radio media but because of that we are compelled to look for other ways of making the voice of the Opposition heard over the waves. Almost all stations have the so-called Call-In programmes to which listeners can either call to make musical requests or to express opinions on usually thoroughly de-politicized topics. Musical requests normally involve mentioning names of loved ones, relatives or friends for whom musical requests are made by phone calls. Militants provided with unregistered Simm cards can make calls to stations requesting that a musical piece be played for a given person, or person s whose names are politically charged; for instance “This is a request for Hamat Bah, the memory of Deda Hydara, Koro Ceesay, Kanyiba Kanyi or Ebrima Chief Manneh, Jisaka Kujabi, etc, or All UDP(or other Parties) members, Halifa Sallah, Sam Sarr or Seedia Jatta etc, etc.” Or “I think the authorities should help us ring the prices of goods down;” or “The authorities should look at the medical shortage at the Basse Clinic;” or “We invite the APRC on Foreign Policy debate on Senegalogambian relations or the secessionist conflict in Casamance” or “we call for an inquest on the death of Ms, Mrs, or Mr. So and So “Where is Rambo? The Lebanese sentenced to to death together with Lang Tombo Tamba & Co Are we all equal before the law?, “ or “Can someone tell me who is Muhamad Bassi?”
l) Holding of Public discussions on complicated or controversial national issues at Arene Baboon Fatty, Father Farrell Hall or Nusrat Assembly Hall.” ( NB:Such like the last programme have better chance of being allowed if organized by the United Front than, for instance the UDP.)
m)-The parties ought to also be making a greater use of the opinion columns of the local newspapers to comment on current issues with pro/opposition stands using either anonymous or real names . The parties can assign groups of semi-clandestine commentators from among their ranks.
n))-The opposition parties should start acting as governments-in-waiting and should be regularly reacting to what government does or fail to do. Doing thus may carry with it the risk of being seen as mere reactants to government, they should at times seize the initiative coming up with policy packages as proposals. They should be holding both regional and national conferences where inputs of members on party policies on the various salient issues. Coming up with alternative budgets, counter-posed to that of the regime, and cutting proposed figures for the presidency, defence, Interior, etc, and boosting spending on the social and productive sectors.
o)-The parties should also consider holding night-time rallies as used to happen in the Bathurst of the 1960s. Such meetings in the dark of the night can accord more anonymous attendance.
p)-The parties should also be using more roaming broadcasts in which a small group of militants could be making brief stops at market-places, bantabas and other public and crowded spots to deliver short and concise political messages (the official permit requirements for such activities ought to be investigated.) In such roaming propaganda stops listeners should be allowed to ask questions about the Front’s policies and programs. Listeners willing to ask must be informed that only questions are invited not comments since some can use it to make irresponsible or inflammatory statements that the Front would be legally responsible for.
q)-The parties should jointly establish a newspaper, website, library and research and documentation center. Joint ownership would mean cost sharing and concretization of the alliance. Alliances that own things together are likelier to stay together than if they do not.
r)-The parties should also be holding timely Quranic Recitals in select mosques and Church Prayers for fallen colleagues and compatriots. The programs may look religious but can rekindle feelings against bestiality of the murders while winning us more sympathy. Potential candidates include: Koro Ceesay, Deyda Hydara , Emrima Chief Manneh, Kanyiba Kanyi Daba Marenah & Co, Kanyiba Kanyi, etc.)
s)-When the president lashes out at an individual or group of individuals, Front politicians should not only issue counter-statements but physically visit the victims to demonstrate solidarity with them.
t)-The parties should look into the feasibility of establishing a clandestine counter-intelligence group for the collection and processing of sensitive information for dissemination into proper channels. For example information on known (For instance from locally published newspaper accounts of court proceedings) sent to Sphere Three, Or of suspected infiltrators passed to Sphere One. And all information that will help the work of the Front or foil the attempts of the regime to illegally repress the Front or other progressive forces.
u)-Note, we have noticed that, in a mass rally held near the Serekunda’s Brikama Car Park just before the 2013 month of Ramadan, the UDP made its intention to oppose the current age limit for presidential candidates. We strongly urge the major opposition party not to be too emphatic on this call as it can easily be seen as self-seeking while there is little chance of getting the regime to let up on it.
v)-By way of conclusion, front officials and members should never tell lies to the people, distort facts or engage in personal attacks against anybody while carrying out propaganda or any other front activity. They should also be receptive to criticisms and be willing to admit its failures and shortcomings. They should also desist from any statement or act that can be interpreted or misinterpreted as attack against any “tribe,” religious, regional or racial group.
w)- Also the Front is constituted on the tenet of non-violence. Non-violence however is not non-confrontational. For a dictatorship as virulent as the one we are facing which is forced reluctantly to concede to the global demand for good governance, opposition to them involves the constant confrontation so as to steadily and incrementally broaden the frontiers of the sham democracy that prevails. So, we are non-violent yes, but we must be prepared to be justly and rightly confrontational towards tyranny through mass defiance and boycott campaigns, through strikes by rates and tax payers, strike action by workers, etc, etc.
x)-Gender equality must the Front strive for. But unfortunately , in The Gambia gender equality has been reduced to the question of FGM. The position on female genital cutting should be made to wait till the ouster of the dictatorship and the launching of the Transition Programme and possibly a referendum. The practice is verily embedded in some cultures of the country’s population and the question whether to legislate a ban or not can generate discord within the Front itself and within sections of the Gambian masses. The protracted work of GAMCOTRAP must be applauded though they should be urged to broaden their demands and include issues like free girls’ education and free or regulated abortion. More girls and young women die each year in make-shift, backyard and underground abortions chambers than women killed by genital cutting. So while the United Front must as, a basic principle, support gender equality, it must be left to the constituent parties to work out their respective programmes for the post-APRC era. The Front should support the CEDAW convention that is against all discrimination against women.
Not everyone who is born in The Gambia is a gambian. So I reject the notion that Gambia belongs to everyone born in The Gambia. I rather the author states that Gambia belongs to all Gambians.
Now I can read the rest of the proposal but frankly speaking, the first sentence is a turn off.
What a brilliant paper! Gambians are hungry for practical and flexible ideas. Let us take time to read this document between the lines.
We have abundance of human resource, all we now need is to unite around the common goal of uprooting Jammeh. That should be the next step.
Lafia stop being too petty. I was expecting you to take on this very sensitive issue of citizenship. That can be tackled after we dismantle dictator Jammeh’s government.
Dawda stop being arrogant without a reason. I am disappointed about your two word comment. You could have done what Lafia did by picking on a certain portion. We cannot grow and move forward when we keep on damning everything.
Dida Lafia wants you not to enter the ring here. If you do, he will turn the dagger at you. He has already hinted you. Don’t say you have not been warned.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Alagie Jallow – I think the Mandingo Warrior is a descendant of Chicken George in Roots! He runs away when I challenge him.
That said, on the issue of “Who is a Gambian”, I’d like Gambians, more so those who are citizens of the West like Lafia, to broaden their horizons a bit. Citizenship is what matters in this mixed-up world of ours today. Most of you in the USA, UK, etc, are citizens with full rights in the countries where you reside. Equally, ALL citizens of The Gambia have equal rights. The rest is parochial nonsense. Infact, as a Pan-Africanist, I am of the view that Africa is ONE and should have NO BORDERS anyway!
Bakary Jarju, what is sensitive about citizenship? You are either a citizen or not a citizen, period.
If you are not a citizen and wish to become one, you must satisfy the requirements laid down by the law and follow the necessary procedure for attainment. Using the back door to obtain national documents like ID cards, voters cards and passport is a fraud on our nation and I am against that.
Alhagi Jallow, you are luring Dida into my trap.
On the proposal itself, I think it is good but it has fallen short of what providing a basis upon which unity must be built. Otherwise, it is good.
However, UDP did not say they will fight the upper age limit. They only said it is an unjust provision.
Listening to lawyer Darboe’s interview, it is clear that UDP is approaching 2016 with two options;
1. If the upper age limit is not changed, there will be an alternative candidate, not lawyer Darboe.
2. However, if the upper age limit is changed and lawyer Darboe is willing to stand, UDP will put him forward as a candidate regardless what the haters say.
This is how I understand UDP position on this matter. Darboe has never made himself a candidate. He has already been chosen.
Correction; meant to say Darboe has always been chosen. He never made himself a candidate.
Dida, citizenship is citiZenship and it has to be attained through due process not through the back door.
I am a Mandingo and a descendent of Mandingos. So if George is a Mandingo, maybe he is my ancestor. Who knows?? I don’t know away my history and culture.
Dida, citizenship is citizenship and it has to be attained through due process not through the back door.
I am a Mandingo and a descendent of Mandingos. So if George is a Mandingo, maybe he is my ancestor. Who knows?? I don’t throw away my history and culture.
Lafia, I am all at sea! My son has bought me a X-Mas present book entitled “Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. I am at page 117 already and it is sheer MADNESS! Let me get to the last page 417 – I am sure that by then I will understand YOU – if I haven’t lost my mind on the way!
Dida, Of course all citizens of The Gambia have equal rights but not everybody born or living in The Gambia are citizens. That is the issue I am talking about and I do not see anything parochial about that. It is just simple fact.
Lafia is indeed interesting! He only coughs during political or anything Mandinka debate. However, I enjoy his writings. Lafia is a real fighter, but where is Bax hiding? We need your input about this document.
Sensible document! Next time please summarise it. Thanks
This is a good piece to open dialogue. It is telling Gambians that, the PDOIS who have engrained mentality that, only they can come with ideas is absolute and a major arrogance on the small minded politicking. Thanks kairo for sharing.
The call to put ideas on the table should be formalised, a task force be set up to do this.
” Infact, as a Pan-Africanist, I am of the view that Africa is ONE and should have NO BORDERS anyway!”
Yes, my-in-law….You can repeat this a million times until all these “bald heads” in Africa get the message…I am 100% with you….
Babou Semester, say that again and louder please. By the way, the author does not believe we should have all the parties in the coalition. That means we can leave pdois behind while the rest of us progressive gambians move ahead with a coalition. We will still win if we are to win or loose if we are to loose. Whether or not pdois is part of the deal will not make any difference to the outcome. The independent MP(s) in parliament can easily substitute pdois anyway.
God bless you bro.
Agnes, Bax is “hiding” behind the Turkey and still in festive mood, but is.keenly following the discussions…..Don’t mind Lafia…He needs cold water splashed on his face to wake him up from his deep slumber…
On a more serious note, I think the writer has made some very good observations about the political situation and realities on the ground, as well as, put forward some very sensible and sound suggestions for consideration…I think all interested individuals and/or organisations should seriously consider this paper with open minds because it is a positive document..
However, I don’t think some of the criticisms levelled against the opposition is fair…For example, the claim that the opposition is not seizing on the gaffs of the regime are not so accurate…The opposition are speaking about the issues that matter to the people but the messages, for some reasons, don’t seem to make much difference to the attitudes of the people towards this regime…Take the constant price hikes for instance or the miss spending of public resources. ..These are constantly talked about…So too the contradictions between the regime and the EU, most notably the 17 points…
It is indisputable that the best strategy to fight this struggle, given the political (and other) realities, is through a “United Force/Front” of all stake holders, but it should also be pointed out that, unless some other format is agreed between the opposition parties, this alliance must be based on a common, apolitical short term agenda that seeks to achieve specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections…Whoever wins those elections to usher in the 3rd Republic, can go on and implement their economic, social and political governance programmes, as they wish and within the law, I hope…
I therefore agree that the writer has made a very good points which should be given serious consideration…
Bax, I must first of all thank you for giving this topic the seriousness and maturity it deserves. But to really understand the document and the role it can play in facilitating our search for the path to political salvation can be clear to most people only after days of serious contemplation. This document is not claiming to be the be all and end all of the struggle but it is a debate opener and possibly a game-changer.
You wrote that>”apolitical short term agenda that seeks to achieve specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections…Whoever wins those elections to usher in the 3rd Republic, can go on and implement their economic, social and political governance programmes, as they wish and within the law, I hope.”
You seem to have miss it all, Our struggle is not for achieving specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections. NO, OUR STRUGGLE IS FOR WINNING BACK OUR NATION FROM THE CLAWS OF A MAD AND BLOODTHIRSTY AUTOCRAT. Winning guarantees for free and fair elections is good, but it it is not priority for the governed, it may be for the governors, actual or aspiring
For three consecutive presidential elections the leaders of the opposition parties have been failing to build any credible unite front and were being accordingly punished by voters. Each time they leave us voters unknowing till the last minute that they cannot make it
From the way I understand this document it is giving the masses of voters a grass-rooted chance to seize matters in our hands. We can all resign our parties temporarily till when Jammeh is dispatched with.
The question is not of formats, fora, and other pedantries,but how to get rid of a dispensation that is likelier to lead to civil conflict, war and national disintegration sooner or later.
Quote Lafia. …. “If you are not a citizen and wish to become one, you must satisfy the requirements laid down by the law and follow the necessary procedure for attainment.”
Comment….Not withstanding the fact that the law on citizenship does not make sense, what does one do if one cannot satisfy the “requirements laid down by the law..?”
How do you justify the fact that while some can acquire citizenship through/by birth, others can’t..? Their citizenship must hinge upon the status of someone else…
Moreover, have you considered the origin and history of this law..? Have you also considered our long standing Traditions and Cultural practices that this law has disrupted..?
Isn’t it true that throughout our history, our people have been able to freely move about and settle wherever they wish to do, with the full enjoyment of societal benefits as the resident communities.? Even those called “strange farmers”, who are seasonal migrants, only have to express their wishes and present cola nuts to the elders, through the Alkalo, to not only be granted land.to settle, but even assisted to build a house and at times, also given a wife to start a family….This is what we know and this is what we must return to…A clear testimony of our firm belief in Human brotherhood/sisterhood…
This dangerous and divisive concept, which is the result of so much suffering in the world,the most recent being seen in Angola, is an alien imposition on us and the entire human race for easy control and manipulation…
Whilst some may claim to be a proud “this” or a proud “that”; or protecting “this” or “that”, there should be no pride in a concept that renders millions “stateless”, a violation of their basic Human Rights…
The Rohingyas in Myanmar (Burma) are a classical example of this inhuman concept and tragedy.They are persecuted as immigrants from Bangladesh, despite living in Burma for centuries, whilst Bangladesh don’t accept them and keep them in refugee camps whenever they flee across the border…Nothing can justify such cruelties by “man” against “man”…
Human Beings collectively own this planet earth and no one should have the right and power to deny another the right to free movement and free choice of residence…
Indeed, people move about but most are more comfortable and happier living in the environment they know best: their place of birth…People move for various reasons and factors and these are what needs to be addressed to “combat” unreasonable immigration. ..Not narrow minded laws that label and divide people, sometimes of the same ethnicity…
Look.at this nonsense where Mandinkas, Jolas or.Fulas from Cassamance are considered “foreigners” when they enter The Gambia (and vice versa) because of inherited colonial laws and people want to defend and die for this.?
Bax please analyse paper again and tell me how good is better than NADD MOU & PDOIS Agenda 2016?
THIS PAPER IS RUBBISH; NOT OWNED BUT ITS UDP MILITANCY PROJECT TRYING TO DICTATE ITS AGENDA WITH ITS POOR UNITED FRONT STRATEGIES; DIVISIVE POLICIES!
A FALSE ALLEGATION QUOTED; “The biggest threats to opposition unity at the moment are the reluctance of PDOIS to be associated with the Raleigh initiative”….!
The efforts of the people who deliberate on this document is duly recognized. However, there is the inescapable fact that it is only through the concerted efforts of all the opposition parties on the ground can a political leverage to be exerted on the status quo. This has little to do with deficiencies and lack of effectiveness of the individual political parties on the ground, and has more to do with an entrenched and consolidated political structure and culture that has favored the ruling parties and governments of both the first and second republics. It is a systemic problem.
Those who are bereft of ideas should not castigate those who have them in abundance, and don’t shy away from sharing with others…;
Nor should the sharing of ideas be perceived as a show of arrogance or a demonstration of monopoly over ideas…;
To even hold such a view is to demonstrate unimaginable foolishness and to associate oneself with such a view, is nothing short of idiosyncrasy…
Let’s discuss the issues raised with maturity and avoid shifting the discussions from the topic….
Bax. I am going to write a Pan-African Philosophy book called “Zen & the Art of the Afro-Hair Do”. I am sure you will love it – though I don’t know about Lafia.
Batch Samba faye, now you understand why pdois needs to be left behind. Bax was merely borrowing a line from pdois’s script. As far as I am concern, it doesn’t matter whether or not pdois joins the fold. Regardless of pdois joining the coalition or not, the outcome will not be influenced. We will still win if we are to win, and loose if we are to loose.
Bax, If a mandingo crosses the border from cassamance, he/she is a foreigner and must satisfy the requirements laid down by our law and go through a due process if he/she wants to become a citizen of the gambia. THE same goes for the jola man, fula, wollof or manjago man.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the law on citizenship. There is a rule/procedure to follow if you want to see the law changed.
We are not a senegambia republic but a sovereign republic of The Gambia.
You have a right to cling on to your philosophy. I have my facts to embrace.
Dida, I am better off embracing facts and reality, and that means Noo thank you very much.
Lafia, “Tat Tvam Asi” says the Oriental Philosophy – meaning “As you think so you are”. Above at “Bax December 27, 2014 at 6:44 PM Quote Lafia. ….” another vision of African (and now Global) citizenship reality has been spelt out. I share Bax’s vision on the reality of African citizenship. Bax’s reality leads to the existence of Ebo Town and Ghana Town in The Gambia. Lafia’s vision will lead to the atrocities taking place against “Foreigners” in Angola this week.
BATCH Samba Faye: “How to get rid of a dispensation that is likelier to lead to civil conflict, war and national disintegration sooner or later”. There is no alternative to a negotiated settlement. Countries in the midst of civil war as we speak, such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and Egypt are glaring testaments to that fact. If a negotiated settlement is a must to ensure a peaceful outcome, then the leadership of that task belongs squarely to the politicians on the ground in The Gambia.
Dida, what is happening in Angola is lawlessness and its disgraceful. Of course What i am calling for is the complete opposite. I have called for the law on citizenship to be respected and followed, and that those foreigners in country who wish to become citizens of The Gambia to ensure that they satisfy the requirements laid down by the law for the attainment of citizenship and submit themselves to a due process for that purpose. Using the back door to obtain our passport and voters card is a fraud on our nation and I am totally against that.
Gambia is a signatory to the ECOWAS the protocols allowing for free movement of people in the sub region and it is my view that these protocols must be respected. That also means that I am not calling for and cannot call for the deportation of foreigners but that they must remain lawful migrants in the country and respect our laws. They must not illegally acquire our passport, voters card or saturate our Army. Those are reserved rights for citizens, according to our laws.
You wrote that;”apolitical short term agenda that seeks to achieve specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections…Whoever wins those elections to usher in the 3rd Republic, can go on and implement their economic, social and political governance programmes, as they wish and within the law, I hope.”
Bax, I cannot agree more with your contention. The only viable and realistic approach to deal with the decades old systemic problem of the Gambia’s governing situation is a tactical and strategic approach of the opposition political parties, first, winning an election against the entrenched and consolidated power and influence of the ruling party and government, and second, bringing in a transition and transformational agenda that will prepare the country for a true democratic culture and dispensation. All political parties can then seek to govern the country on their own to carry out their political objectives and goal.
“You seem to have miss it all, Our struggle is not for achieving specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections. NO, OUR STRUGGLE IS FOR WINNING BACK OUR NATION FROM THE CLAWS OF A MAD AND BLOODTHIRSTY AUTOCRAT. Winning guarantees for free and fair elections is good, but it it is not priority for the governed, it may be for the governors, actual or aspiring”
Batch Samba I did not think Bax missed anything, I read the document. Our struggle should be to achieve specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections. Is that not the unanimous consent why opposition political parties cannot win elections in the Gambia since the dawn of the first republic?
If your struggle is to win BACK OUR NATION what can you do differently to bring about a positive result different from what obtains for the last 20 years? This is the fundamental question that needs to be addressed.
The opposition political parties are to be supported to unite around some basic common principles that will ultimately ensure a FREE and FAIR election and the consolidation of a culture of democratic plurality and dispensation. This is how we can end the decades old political structure and culture that has left opposition politics in the Gambia at the fringes.
“For three consecutive presidential elections the leaders of the opposition parties have been failing to build any credible unite front and were being accordingly punished by voters. Each time they leave us voters unknowing till the last minute that they cannot make it”
But what are the reasons for the failures to build any credible united front? And what in your approach now could be different?
After going round and round in all the convoluted circuits you will come back to the same realization that you need one unifying presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential elections; a unifying reform and transitional agenda that is agreeable to all opposition political parties, and a process to coordinate and agree to all the fundamental issues pertinent to this effort.
You cannot have it any other way. We know what needs to be done. Let the opposition political parties do it.
“From the way I understand this document it is giving the masses of voters a grass-rooted chance to seize matters in our hands. We can all resign our parties temporarily till when Jammeh is dispatched with.”
There is a political process in the Gambia in which a government can be changed. Political parties are the vehicle through which such a change can be effected. Because of a systemic problem opposition political parties cannot change the government on their own. However, there is the strong likelihood that they can change the government if they unite their forces around some basic common principles of ending the status quo and bring about a new dispensation. This should be their agenda for change.
“The question is not of formats, fora, and other pedantries,but how to get rid of a dispensation that is likelier to lead to civil conflict, war and national disintegration sooner or later”
The question is of formats, fora and pedantries because that is the only way you can build consensus among the opposition political parties, They are the ones that mattered most in this equation. Civil society groups have their roles and responsibilities, but cannot impose their will and desires on the opposition political parties.
Our politics is an evolutionary process and unless one willfully intends to disrupt this process it cannot engender civil conflict, war and national disintegration.
“Isn’t it true that throughout our history, our people have been able to freely move about and settle wherever they wish to do, with the full enjoyment of societal benefits as the resident communities.? Even those called “strange farmers”, who are seasonal migrants, only have to express their wishes and present cola nuts to the elders, through the Alkalo, to not only be granted land.to settle, but even assisted to build a house and at times, also given a wife to start a family….This is what we know and this is what we must return to…A clear testimony of our firm belief in Human brotherhood/sisterhood…”
Bax I cannot agree more with you. The laws of citizenship in the Gambia should be interrogated thoroughly in the 3rd Republic to ensure that everyone born in the country is accorded the rights of citizenship.
What you have outlined clearly indicates the conflict between our cultural norms and values and what is stated in our law books as far as citizenship is concerned and should be duly amended to reflect these cultural norms and values.
What is more arrogant and disingenuous for someone to tell another who are both born in the same country that I am a Gambian and you are not because your parents come somewhere else. How many people have lived and died in the Gambia up to their seventies and nineties in age and none of their parents were born or naturalized in the Gambia?
“This dangerous and divisive concept, which is the result of so much suffering in the world,the most recent being seen in Angola, is an alien imposition on us and the entire human race for easy control and manipulation…”
It is all about politics, control and subjugation. It is indeed a dangerous and divisive concept and should be rejected by all progressive people. People are merely accidents of their history and should not be unnecessarily punished for where they are or are not born. There should be a rational and humane approach to deal with issues of immigration and citizenship.
“Whilst some may claim to be a proud “this” or a proud “that”; or protecting “this” or “that”, there should be no pride in a concept that renders millions “stateless”, a violation of their basic Human Rights…”
And most of this feigned attention to some proud ancestral heritage is based on hysteria. They are just afraid plain and simple. They can no longer or will no longer be able to enjoy the privileges and monopoly of the state control of power. They create all these divisive concepts, an intellectual construct, purposely design to serve their selfless needs and interest.
But Lafia, the gate should not be closed to any political party, civil society organization, youth and women groups, faith-based organizations, sport organizations, all groups of concerned Gambians in \and outside the country. Before Jammeh’s demise, political parties and identification with them will not be necessary.so inter-party rivalries would be uncalled for.
Batch, I agree with you 100% that the door cannot be closed on anyone or political party but again, we must not allow a national project to be derailed or hold to ransom by one person or a small political party. Therefore, I am on this same page with you. Those who wish to hold us back should be left behind themselves regardless of who they are. That’s all I am saying.
@ Batch Samba Faye….”You seem to have miss it all, Our struggle is not for achieving specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections. NO, OUR STRUGGLE IS FOR WINNING BACK OUR NATION FROM THE CLAWS OF A MAD AND BLOODTHIRSTY AUTOCRAT.”
Comment :… Thank you brother Batch for your contribution above….I think we will all agree that the reforms that we envisage are not possible under Yaya Jammeh…Therefore, any mention of reforms would be on the presumption that the regime was removed from power first and foremost…So I have no qualms agreeing that “Winning back our nation…..” is of utmost priority.
However, “Winning back our nation”, if it is not going to be for its own sake, must be part of a comprehensive, well thought out and well managed plan of action (strategies), to effect and achieve meaningful changes for the country..Otherwise, we may only be “solving” part of the problem, through personality/cosmetic changes and not the problem itself, because Jammeh is our own creation, not vice versa.
That brings me to the “how” question…In other words, how do we “win back our country ?”
Many people have concluded that this could be achieved in one of three or four ways : (1)..through the ballot box; (2)…through mass uprising; (3)…through force of arms; (4)…through natural causes..
Since (4) is out of our hands, we are better off not considering it as an option, and of the remaining 3, I hope you will agree that option (1) provides the most realistic means of “Winning our nation” back…
In this regard, and within the context of current realities on the ground, the best strategy, as posited by this paper under discussion, is a United Front under a single flag bearer…That simply means bringing all stake holders, with different characters and divergent interests (among other things) under one umbrella…This is much easier said than done, but it is achievable if the will exist, as “where there’s a will, there’s a way”..
It would seem from my personal understanding that there doesn’t seem.to be any disagreements in the idea of a united front under one.flag bearer..The stumbling block seems to be the form, nature and mandate of the front…
Dawda wrote asking:
“Bax please analyse paper again and tell me how good is better than NADD MOU & PDOIS Agenda 2016?
THIS PAPER IS RUBBISH; NOT OWNED BUT ITS UDP MILITANCY PROJECT TRYING TO DICTATE ITS AGENDA WITH ITS POOR UNITED FRONT STRATEGIES; DIVISIVE POLICIES!”
He does not appear to understand what all this is about. As the writer wrote, “politics is the art of the possible. Agenda 2016 is a reiteration of Agenda 2011 which in turn a reformulation of the 2005 NADD MOU, Tested several times and found unworkable.. This one is only better because it has not been tested, not because of a better quality or better articulation. We can only tell by trying and testing that which is yet to be tested. Before you, Dawda, come up with a totally fresh alternative document, please let us try it out for love of country Hope before the end of this debate, i can be connected to the writer or writers to contribute my quota towards immediate implementation..
As I have opined in many discussions before, if the stake holders all agree to rally behind one individual and his / her party’s platform, then so be it. But if not, then other arrangements have to be looked at…
In this regard, and within the context of the current realities of the country, the best arrangement, in my view, is a United Front of all stake holders, working together in a governance programme designed to achieve specific short term remedies, that are required to usher in the 3rd Republic. This is much easier said than done (I admit) but it is achievable, if the will exist, as “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
To instil confidence in the entire process, all stake holders,or their reps, who may be from different backgrounds, with different opinions, characters and divergent interests ( among others), must be equally and actively involved in the entire process, which must also be Transitional in nature.
Of course, Gambia’s problems are not a question of just one individual, but the result of a flawed political and governance system, as well as, a culture of sycophancy and favour currying politics, that has been exploited by first & second Republic politicians, both in government and opposition….Long term remedies are needed to address this chronic “disease”….And unless this is changed, there is no guarantee that another ” Yaya Jammeh ” will not emerge, may be sooner than we expect, because POWER corrupts and ABSOLUTE UNCHECKED POWER, like the kind wielded by our ( monarchical ) presidents ( past & present ), corrupts ABSOLUTELY … It only takes the wrong calibre of person, like Yaya Jammeh, entering the Office of the President…
@ Samba. …”Winning guarantees for free and fair elections is good, but it it is not priority for the governed, it may be for the governors, actual or aspiring”
Comment : I beg to differ here. …Both the theory and concept of Democracy holds that ” Power belongs to the people “, or “Sovereignty resides in the people ” and in a democracy, the best way to exercise that power, in so far as controlling who presides over our affairs is concerned, is through the vote, exercised periodically at elections…It is important that there are Free and Fair elections so that the results reflect the true choices of the people. ..
I would therefore submit that Free and Fair elections are as important, if not more, to the ” governed” as it is to the ” governors”, and its immediate institution in.our electoral process should be of utmost priority. ..
Batch Samba Faye, I agree with you 100 percent that the door should not be closed on any one or political party but again, we must not a national project to be derailed or hold to ransom by one individual or a political party. I am on this same page with you my brother.
Dawda…I have not analysed the paper but I have certainly read it through….I have also not failed to note that some of the criticisms levelled against the opposition is unjustified or that some of the conclusions are questionable…I can’t point them all out..
An example is the claim about “PDOIS being a threat to opposition unity because of their reluctance to be associated with the Raleigh initiative”…I don’t think any party is associated with the Raleigh Initiative any more, but even if they were, how could PDOIS’ reluctance to associate with that initiative be construed as a threat to opposition unity. .?
I do not agree with the entirety of the document, nevertheless, I still believe it’s a positive initiative with a lot of sound and achievable suggestions. …I think it deserves a second glance, if not a thorough reading…
By the way, I’m sorry for the repetition in.my precious two comments…
Bax, nobody is calling for anybody to become stateless. I am saying migrants must follow the path of the law if they do want to become citizens or they can remain lawful migrants if they don’t . That is exactly what obtains in every civilised country in this world as it does not take away their citizenship of their country of origin.
How can any responsible govt handover citizenship to anybody who cross the border line from the other side?? You sometimes scares the wit out of yourself.
You are simply at it again; manufacturing fictions in your head.
Thank you Bax, for coming up with these, quite pertinent,queries, questions other commentaries without claiming to speak for the writer or writers or on his/their behalf. I venture out with my views only because the subject is one for the common good and also because I m almost fully convinced of its feasibility nd wisdom.So since now the document is on the public domain for critical scrutiny I feel I can both contribute to enriching it or defending it.
You wrote: “However, “Winning back our nation”, if it is not going to be for its own sake, must be part of a comprehensive, well thought out and well managed plan of action (strategies), to effect and achieve meaningful changes for the country..Otherwise, we may only be “solving” part of the problem, through personality/cosmetic changes and not the problem itself, because Jammeh is our own creation, not vice versa.
No from the way I got it those strategies for meaningful change are a matter for the Third Republic when Jammeh would have been in jail or in his grave.Such matters must wait till then, bringing them up now can cause discord and divisions for no purpose.
Then you wrote:
That brings me to the “how” question…In other words, how do we “win back our country ?”
A nation that needs to be taken back by its people after its ruler has been proven to rule with utter disregard for the natural terms and principles of the social contract, civil liberties and human rights. With his lawlessness kleptocratic designs, secret detentions, torture and killings, President Jammeh has taken the nation on hostage and the country needs to be taken back. This need supersedes all others; ideological convictions, political parties, their leaders and even politics itself.
Again Bax you wrote:
“Many people have concluded that this could be achieved in one of three or four ways : (1)..through the ballot box; (2)…through mass uprising; (3)…through force of arms; (4)…through natural causes..
Since (4) is out of our hands, we are better off not considering it as an option, and of the remaining 3, I hope you will agree that option (1) provides the most realistic means of “Winning our nation” back…
Bax, allow me to disagre e with you here. Option (1) is not the most realistic but the most desirable. However we are lucky that in this case the options don’t need need to be single and mutually exclusive. Personally I believe a combination of options (1) and two, dynamically feeding on each other, Options (3) and (4) are ones that lift responsibility from the shoulders of citizens an place it in the hands of Allah or Liberator-soldiers. This is leaving every thing to chance, back to bed hoping to sleep it over,
The document is suggesting that we have a say in the affair as housewives, farmers, taxi drivers, office workers and teachers, traders and business people, the unemployed, etc, etc,. This will give it legitimacy.
“This is much easier said than done, but it is achievable if the will exist, as “where there’s a will, there’s a way” you wrote.
That is right, but will continue one of these days.
Bye for now
Thank you Batch. Keep it short though. Otherwise you will be like pdois; always getting on people’s nerves. Not a pleasant place to be in.
Lafia, thanks for pointing out the need for brevity. Will try to take your advice.
Bax, thanx once more, but will have to do my input by installments to keep them short. I think your fears for what may come after Jammeh is somewhat is a little over emphasized. No human activity carried out by a mass of humans is everywhere with elements of unpredictability and risks. The outcomes cannot be always as planned, but my brother, this is not social engineering in which outcomes can be pre-determined and pre-designed. All the members cannot wait until there is agreement on all post-Jammeh policies. So the Front needs only the minimum framework of agreements that can mobilize the greatest number of adherents. PDOIS may want socialist policies, UDP perhaps liberal capitalist policies and the NRP may opt for an Iranian-type Way. These divies cannot be trashed out now. It is voters after the change of government that must decide over those policies, so why bother now?
Continuing with my response to Bax:
Bax, your final comment was: “It would seem from my personal understanding that there doesn’t seem to be any disagreements in the idea of a united front under one flag bearer..The stumbling block seems to be the form, nature and mandate of the front.”
Yes, the stumbling block, the nature and mandate of the front. I think the mandate is clear enough, TO UNITE THE BROADEST POSSIBLE FRONT OF ALL CONCERNED GAMBIANS FOR OUSTING THE JAMMEH DICTATORSHIP, PRESIDING OVER A TRANSITION PROCESS TO THE THIRD EPUBLIC AND DISSOLVING ITSELF AND HANDING OVER TO THE NEW ELECTED GOVERNMENT . And I think the nature of the front: A NON-PARTY POLITICAL UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION OF ALL POLITICAL, PARTIES, MASS ORGANIZATIONS, CIVIL SOCIETY GOUPS, PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION, YOUTH AND WOMEN GROUPS, TRADE UNIONS, STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS, FAITH-BASED GROUPS, SPORT ASSOCIATIONS, ETC.
Bax you must agree that currently the outlook for a font between the parties cannot be said to have improved markedly since 2011. The parties still maintain basically their same respective stance. All negotiations will just be repetition of the same unmovable stances.
The author’s proposals makes it possible for the masses of the governed not only to have a say over this matter but to have the option of forcing aside the political class and dictating matters, terms and condition of coalition building in case the opposition leaders fail to come together over pedantries like format of organization, choice of flag-bearer, method and criteria of making this choice, etc, etc.
On the 26th Dec, Kamalo wrote:
Batch Samba I did not think Bax missed anything, I read the document. Our struggle should be to achieve specific reforms to guarantee Free and Fair elections. Is that not the unanimous consent why opposition political parties cannot win elections in the Gambia since the dawn of the first republic?
If your struggle is to win BACK OUR NATION what can you do differently to bring about a positive result different from what obtains for the last 20 years? This is the fundamental question that needs to be addressed.
Kamalo, thanks for this question as it is an indication that you got the message rightly but I think the author or authors also understand that free and fair elections are important. But they seem to have departed from our basic assumption that this should be the primary aim of our struggle. In their view free and fair elections, a leveled playing field, are not goals but means to an end. At the moment the most prudent prioritization puts dismantling the Jammeh one-man-rule as the most urgent. The call for free and fair elections must not be set aside, but it must be understood that this is a call for the right of political organizations to compete freely and fairly. But there are more fundamental rights than that, the rights of Gambians as humans, their rights as citizens, are more fundamental than the rights of organizations political, commercial, cultural or otherwise.
Kamalo, you also asked what can be one differently? The answer is simple, go back to the document and see the about two dozen proposed activities outlined there within. These are the things made me fall for the document. They are all doable and mostly never tried by the established home-based political parties. What is new with this is that it gives the masses some leverage over the parties and their leaders. It restores ownership of the struggle from the inept hands of politicians and their parties back to the masses of citizens. Not only because the opposition political leadership have been inept (with all respect observed) but because citizens are the ultimate custodians of the county, its sovereignty and all its instruments of governance.
Batch, forget about Kamalo. He is just a wacko attention seeker. You must have noticed that he has been avoided throughout.
Once again, good stuff bro
Batch You talk too much without understanding contentious issues on divided opposition; disintegration of NADD, why opposition parties did not unite 2011 and why since 2006 to-date or towards 2016 are still not under a UNITED FRONT (rightly considered a UNITED NATIONAL FRONT, GRAND COALITION UNDER “MERGER OF POLITICAL PARTIES); culminating in producing this biased UDP militancy document with empty proposals and certain ridiculous statements attacking PDOIS, blame game & scapegoating on them and NRP, then appealing for UNITED FRONT. Please outline briefly from this document you are passionate with proposed UNITED FRONT envisaged in it. I BET THERE IS NOTHING CLEARLY STATED IN IT! Your ideas resonate with everything that needs to be for UNITED FRONT covered by PDOIS in any given election cycle since 2006. Unconsciously you are gradually explaining PDOIS position for UNITED FRONT and am happy it will become very clear, if you continue with discourse.
Dawda, thank you for getting to slowly but steadily beginning to understand where this people are coming from. PDOIS’s, UDP’s and the classical concept is a coalition of parties, these guys are calling for a coalition of citizens organized in and out of political parties since we can no longer rely on the politicians to do it for us. This is at the core of their message.
Thanks once more.
Bax, pls allow the me again, this time on the realism of option(1). It is more probable for Jammeh to be overthrown in a coup, or get sick and incapacitated than free and fair elections to be held, and that he is defeated in those polls, and that he hands over power peacefully. Don’t you think so?
But with the aid of a new base coalition of the people, aroused by their own experiences of hardship, incensed by the never-ending atrocities and led on by a wise, dedicated and honest leadership can force JAMMEH INTO HOLDING FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS OR EVEN STEPPING DOWN.Don’t you think so?
Finally it is better for the masses to make a mistake and fall into another pit of dictatorship than continue under the old yoke of autocracy. Because we can easier and sooner get rid of the new one, when we wake up, than the old, settled and long-lasting one. Fear of such a possibility should not inactivate or paralyze us.
By the way where is the author(s), must I be left with all the clarifications or do they plan to join the fray after all the parts have been published? I think is better trashing them out as they come than waiting till they are in hundreds.
Thank you brother Batch for the clear response…This is very healthy and I hope we’ll be forgiven for the lengths of our comments… Allow me to say a few things in response…
I may be wrong but I sense that you may be among those who think that Jammeh’s departure, no matter how, will lead to normalcy and an easy entry into the 3rd Republic. ..If so, then I wish I could share your optimism and I pray that your camp is right and mine is wrong…
However, this approach, in my humble opinion, would be expecting “too much” for “nothing”, and may even constitute an act of “tempting faith”, because the evidence of the aftermath of unplanned and unmanaged transitions from entrenched dictatorships, is all around us…To think that we are different and that everything would simply fall into place, once Jammeh departs,because we are Gambia, is naive and very dangerous…
Dictatorships have a common feature…They rule by instilling fear in the population….Fear suppresses emotions, but does not take them away…On the surface, everything seems to be fine but below the surface lies all.sorts of emotions: anger, bitterness, betrayal, disappointment, hatred, jealousy (you name it), all waiting for the moment to explode..The departure of a dictator removes the fear that trap these emotions and if the process is not managed properly, the aftermath could be very chaotic and painful, because everything just “bubbles” and “explodes..”
That is why we need a “specific short term remedy” that leaves no one in doubt as to where and how we proceed once the dictator departs…This would remove any elements of mistrust, uncertainty or suspicions between the various key players (a recipe for disaster) as well.as provide assurances of an orderly transition to the general public..
Of course, there are many other shortcomings in the structures, implementation and practices of our governance and economic systems that require reform, but these need “long term remedies”..The priority is to go past the first huddle : The immediate aftermath of Jammeh’s departure and how we achieve that departure. ..
You opined that option (1) is not the “most realistic”, but the “most desirable” instead…I think a distinction needs to be made of the difference between what is “desirable” and what is “realistic”…
In.my view, any of the options I mentioned may be “desirable”, depending on who is considering the options, but not necessarily “realistic”…For example, there are many who want a bullet in Jammeh’s head…That’s the most desirable option for them, but is it realistic. ? Who is going to load and fire that gun.? Similarly, there are many who desire a mass uprising now, alla Burkina style, but is it realistic..? Unless you are planning to start one, I don’t know when that’s going to happen or who is going to start it….It may eventually, but when..? Likewise, many desire a military coup, but is it a realistic option.? Does anyone know of any coup plans or the probability of success for a coup..?
We all.know, however, that 2016 is elections year and records show that voter apathy is seriously high because many are disillusioned and fed up with the system…Even without conducting any survey, I can say that apart from the travelled, the sick or the deceased, the majority of those affected (by voter apathy) are those who would have voted against Jammeh…
As this paper has pointed out, many people, even those who openly associate with the regime, for one reason or another, are dissatisfied with the status quo and want change…What is lacking is the conviction that the opposition presents a credible force against the regime, so they don’t think it worth their while to vote…If the opposition can convince this lot that they present a credible force through a single flag bearer, then there will be a possibility to defeat Jammeh outright…Herein lies my argument that option (1) presents the most realistic option because it is within our collective capability to achieve a United Front…
Bax my Bother, you wrote that “…it is in our collective capability to achieve a United Front.” But with fifteen years of talking and four failed attempts how can you be so categorical about this? None of the parties has changed its stance, no known negotiations going on, no debates to trash out the differences, it is then likelier that 2016 may be even be worse as far as the chances of opposition alliance is concerned unless we try something new. This one looks to me the best so far. It lets us give the politicians the chance, but for ourselves to do it when they fail this time. The country belongs to all of us not the politicians alone. If things were to go real wrong we all will catch the hell together, not the politicians alone.
@ Lafia. . ” Bax, nobody is calling for anybody to become stateless.”
Comment : It’s not about whether “anybody is calling for anybody to become stateless”…It’s about creating the conditions that lead to statelessness…Senseless and irrational “Citizenship Laws” of many countries are rendering people stateless and leaving them vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous individuals.
Imagine the injustice of a 50,60 or 80 year old Kiangka/Jarrangka, whose parents were born in The Gambia and who has lived in Kiang/Jarra all his life, being dragged before a court, prosecuted for “illegally obtaining national documents” (because he voted for an opposition candidate), found “guilty” and sent to Janjanbureh Prison for 6/18 months. ..This is not fiction…It happened in The Gambia because of senseless Citizenship Laws that leave many people and their descendants, technically stateless. ..If you agree with this, then I have underestimated you..
“How can any responsible govt handover citizenship to anybody who cross the border line from the other side??”
Comment…I.am not saying, “hand over citizenship to anybody who cross the border line from the other side…”
All I’m saying is that the law should neither discriminate, nor put unreasonable, unattainable requirements on those who are either born in the country, or wish to become Gambian Citizens…
For example, a good starting point would be granting automatic citizenship to all who are born of parents who have taken The Gambia as their home and residence, without hinging their status to that of their parents…You could also lay down a set of targets, all achievable through their own efforts, for those who are not born in The Gambia but wish to become citizens, to fulfil in order to acquire citizenship..Such as requiring that individuals learn to speak the language of their host community…For.example, if.you settle in Gunjur,then you must learn to speak and understand Mandinka, being the language of the resident community…etc, etc..
But it is unreasonable to require that one of.a person’s parents must be born as a citizen in.the country, before they can qualify…Who has control over where their parent is born..?
Or that you must marry a citizen to qualify for naturalisation…Now, given the uncertainty of who is or is not a citizen, how the hell do you know if your husband or wife is a legitimate citizen. .? This is crazy and needs to change…
“You sometimes scares the wit out of yourself.”
Comment. .You.mean,”I.scare the wit out of YOU”…I.bet I do.because I want to take away the tool you can use to control and manipulate innocent people, when.and if it suits you…
‘I.am not saying, “hand over citizenship to anybody who cross the border line from the other side…” -Bax
Well this is what you said;
“Isn’t it true that throughout our history, our people have been able to freely move about and settle wherever they wish to do, with the full enjoyment of societal benefits as the resident communities.? Even those called “strange farmers”, who are seasonal migrants, only have to express their wishes and present cola nuts to the elders, through the Alkalo, to not only be granted land.to settle, but even assisted to build a house and at times, also given a wife to START a family….This is what we know and this is what we must return to…A clear testimony of our firm belief in Human brotherhood/sisterhood…”
It is clear from the above that you would handover citizenship to anybody who crosses the border from the other side pursuant to your Human brotherhood/sisterhood belief. That will definitely scare the wit out of anyone who values Gambian citizenship.
Bax, ofcourse a collective united alliance is desirable but it’s not realistic as pdois’s intransigence will remain a stumbling block and people are aware of that. That’s why it is imperative that we get the ball rolling without or without pdois. It won’t matter a dime to our prospect. We will still win if we are to win and loose if we are to. Victory will depend on how resourced and organised the campaign is, not whether or not pdois is part of the deal.
Bax, well if a pdois government (God Forbid) is going to handover citizenship to foreigners in the manner you espoused, that will certainly scare the wit out of me.
All kiangkas and jarrakas are gambians. Those who are not gambians are not actually jarrakas or kiangkas. In the wayway, none gambians in foni or fulladu are not actually foninkas or fulladunkos. Just simple facts.
Anybody who actually understands the root cause of the ivorian conflict will not wish to see a reckless policy on citizenship. Bax is a bit eutopian.
You don’t have to marry a citizen to qualify for naturalisation, Bax. Get your facts right and stop manufacturing stuff in your head.
Yakuba Touray’s parents are married to each other and both of them were foreigners. They were duly naturalised in accordance with our law.
There is nothing in our laws that makes people stateless. That’s justHalifa Sallah’s trash.
People born to foreign parents are actually citizens of their parents’ country of origin. For example, a person born to senegalese parents is actually a Senegalese. He/she is therefore not stateless. If he/she wants to become a gambian, he/she must strive to meet the necessary requirements laid down by the law. That is the case even in the UK.
Lafia…Your camp has called Yankuba Touray and Tangara foreigners. …I suspect I know what would have happened to them if the certain people had their way…
Of course, you don’t have to marry..I am.not saying that “marrying a Gambian spouse” is the ONLY route to Naturalisation. ..Hear me right…It is one of the several routes…
May be, you.want to.tell.us the root causes of the conflict in Ivory Coast…Then.we will know whether it was the practice of “handing citizenship to anybody that cross the border line”, or something else…
It was, however obvious, that attempts were made to disqualify Ouatarra on the grounds of citizenship, even though he was born in that country and had previously held high office. .
Bax: “…Imagine the injustice of a 50,60 or 80 year old Kiangka/Jarrangka, whose parents were born in The Gambia and who has lived in Kiang/Jarra all his life, being dragged before a court, prosecuted for “illegally obtaining national documents” (because he voted for an opposition candidate), found “guilty” and sent to Janjanbureh Prison for 6/18 months. ..This is not fiction…It happened in The Gambia because of senseless Citizenship Laws that leave many people and their descendants, technically stateless. ..If you agree with this, then I have underestimated you..”
Spot on Bax. This I witnessed in 2001 in Soma Town. Resting on a mat with Baba K. Jobe lying next to me, this BIG 60-something Mauritanian BURST IN very angry and demanded of Baba Jobe: “I have lived here all my life, I have 3 wives, lots of children and my business. HOW DARE they deny me a Voter’s Card!”. The man was so angry that I think for the first and only time I saw Baba scared (maybe also because we were lying down and the man was standing over us). But the point is that the man was by all accounts a Gambian citizen and he was angry because he was discriminated against because of his Mauritanian ancestry – which is precisely what Lafia’s policy would do.
On another occasion, back in 1996, stuff was stolen from my VW Camper Van while I was in England. On returning to The Gambia, I took a police officer to the suspects house and recovered some of the stolen items. A BIG man came to the Kairaba Police Station to rescue the thief, and said to the Inspector, loudly for me to hear: “Afterall, we are all Gambian”! I kissed my teeth and left and refused to withdraw my complaint for three days – until the BIG man signed in the Police Book that he would pay D7,000 for everything that was still missing. Lafia’s policy would mean that it is OK to rob foreigners and get away with it.
On this occasion I say “Long Live Bax’s (and PDOIS!) policy. God save The Gambia from Lafia’s policy!”.
Bax and Lafia, it seems like while we were on it last night a group of men were on the verge of storming State House, Bax’s option (3). This not only suggests the veracity of our take that coups and natural events are likelier to end Jammeh’s rule than free and fair elections and that time is running out and that a certain momentum is gathering strength and that only a civilian National Front can preempt being replaced by one of his own in a palace coup.
Because of the urgency of the situation presently at hand, discussion of what type of Front we want and how to go about it should be of toppest priority, issues like citizenship, provided for by a constitutional clause, are post-Jammeh ones and should not be of immediate concern at the moment but can wait till its drafting and adoption after Jammeh is gone.
Living in Gambia long and marry three wives is positive in the sense that it can help you proof that you have met the citizenship requirements laid down by law but it doesnt make you a citizen and unless you take steps to naturalise, you are not a gambian.
There are libanese people in the gambia who are gambians and regarded as such. One of them was even voted in parliament during jawara time. He was representing the Niani constituency. That’s for your info Dida.
Dida, I am advocating for adherence to the law and you are saying I will find it ok for foreigners to be robbed. Is robbery not against the law??
I think you are ridiculing yourself rather than staining me for my views are there for all to see. I value gambian citizenship and it is my position that who ever want to acquire it must follow the path of the law. Handing citizenship to anybody who cross over from the other side of the border as called for by Bax is reckless and definitely scares the wit out of me. A country must have laws governing citizenship and they must be respected and fully enforced as much as practicably possible.
And by the way, it is normal for people to walk into a police station in the gambia and plead forgiveness on behalf of another in the name of gambian_Ness. It’s just a culture that is used in dispute resolution outside the legal framework. It is not used to take side against foreigners and it doesn’t take away ones right to pursue a complaint through the legal system. Call it gambian_Ness but not gambianism.
Ha, Ha, Ha! Not true in this case – but you will make a good lawyer Lafia!
I think I read some where that the proposal has been sent to all the opposition parties about a year ago. What was the reaction of the parties, organized Diaspora groups, prominent individuals, etc, but I wonder what has been their respective reaction to the proposal? Why have they been so quiet about it?