The PDOIS Congress meeting in Bansang, CRR, from 22nd May to the 25th May 2015, under a climate of unbounded hospitality and serenity;
Alerted and driven into action by a deep sense of concern for the skyrocketing deficit in liberty and prosperity in the country and an acknowledgement of a growing sense of despair among the vast majority of Gambian people,
And inspired and motivated by an unquenchable and insatiable desire and commitment to ensure that all live in liberty, dignity and prosperity, resolves as follows:
1. ON THE OWNERSHIP OF POWER BY THE PEOPLE
That The Gambia is a Sovereign Republic and her ownership by her people will not become complete and genuine democracy instituted, unless the sovereignty deposited in the people is fully realised by them and fully relied on to elect representatives who will be duty bound to serve their collective interest without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
In this regard, all PDOIS members undertake to redouble our commitment to work without hesitation or break to ensure that all Gambians are conscious of their sovereign rights to determine who is to manage the affairs of the country and how, as well as, to consider their right to vote as the invincible and inalienable instrument that each possesses as a sovereign and equal voice and power to determine the free, prosperous and dignified destiny of the sovereign people of The Gambia.
2. ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT
That access to clean drinking water, health facilities, labour saving devices , better roads and better housing are grossly inadequate in many villages in the country which are without any revenue, or village fund, derived from village earnings to contribute to village development;
In this regard, PDOIS commits itself to ensuring that every village has a productive base such as farms, gardens, fishing ponds, fishing vessels if they are close to the ocean and other sources of income such as royalties from mines, boreholes of public companies, where it can derive revenue to invest in labour saving devices, clean drinking water, health facilities, better roads and other social amenities within one year of a PDOIS administration.
3. ON WOMEN’S UPLIFTMENT FROM POVERTY
That women, making up half the population, are mostly engaged in farming, or horticulture, without access to inputs and reliable markets. To address the problem of the vast majority of women, a Cooperative Bank and Cooperative marketing establishments will be commissioned to provide all the inputs for gardening, aquaculture , animal husbandry, petty business and cottage industries to enable women to earn income sufficient for improved living and further purchase farm produce to promote value added production through processing to generate employment.
4. ON YOUTH ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
That the youthfulness of the population of The Gambia with 67 percent falling under the age of 25, about 47 percent falling between the ages of 13 and 30, and approximately 60 percent being classified as youth in domestic terms, is both a challenge and an asset, depending on the policy that is put in place to develop the knowledge, skills, democratic and Republican values of the sector to ensure productive and mature citizenship;
That the 411,000 children coming out of our educational system every 12 years need to be prepared for further development and employment; that the government has not put in place any register of persons seeking employment as dictated by Section 44 of the labour Act and has not put any viable policy in place to satisfactorily address the problem of youth unemployment in the country.
In this regard, PDOIS will pursue a policy of linking Agricultural production, mainly based on family farms and community farms, with processing to ensure that employment and income generating avenues are created for the youth and thus minimize the perilous adventure to seek greener pastures abroad.
Furthermore, PDOIS will pursue a policy constructive rapprochement with foreign governments to ensure transfer of labour, knowledge, skills and technology through mutually beneficial win – win agreements which will facilitate legal settlement of Gambian youths abroad.
5. ON ELECTORAL REFORM
That the party is committed to electoral reform so that Gambians abroad shall exercise their right to vote; It stands for a two term limit of four years per term, the introduction of paper ballot to replace marbles, and the promulgation of proportional representation as a constitutional provision to ensure one third gender parity in the composition of ministerial posts or The Cabinet, The National Assembly and The Councils.
6. ON FOOD SECURITY AND SELF- SUFFICIENCY
That vision 2016 which aims to put an end to the importation of rice in 2016 is based on fiction instead of facts; that in 2014 Gambia imported 140,411 metric tons of rice while domestic production stood at 46,674 metric tons. This puts domestic consumption to be approximately 200,000 metric tons; that if vision 2016 is to be achieved, over 150,000 metric tons of rice would have to be produced in one year; that vision 2016 is therefore wishful thinking and is unachievable;
In order to attain food self- sufficiency, PDOIS will establish a cooperative bank and a cooperative marketing institution to support family and community farms to enable them to have access to farm inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and farm implements on one hand, and markets and fair price on the other, to ensure food self- sufficiency and community development. The family farms shall be preserved by law and families shall have as much land as they could put into productive use. Land unused by families shall be put into productive use by communities for social benefit. Any investment in land shall be done on a shareholding basis so as to avoid any exclusion of the people from land ownership.
7. ON EMPOWERMENT OF THOSE LIVING WITH DISABILITY
That those living with disability are part and parcel of the nation and are equal in sovereignty and must not be treated in a discriminatory manner. They are entitled to civic, political, economic, social, cultural and ecological rights, like other citizens and should not experience any form of exclusion; that those living with disability shall be represented in all the organs of the party, and this objective be included in the terms of reference of any steering committee established to look into the issue of proportional representation in party and national decision making bodies.
8. ON BALANCED AND PROPORTIONATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
That a balanced and proportionate development of the economy will be pursued by aligning sovereign national wealth from public financial institutions with public sector investment and development; private financial institutions which trade in foreign currency to the tune of 1.6 million dollars per annum will be twinned with private sector investment and development, Cooperative banks and other financial institutions will be linked to all cooperative ventures in agricultural production, processing and marketing; micro credit financial institutions will take the characteristics of cooperative banks and be connected to informal sector production and marketing activities.
In this regard, we shall encourage the establishment of a stock exchange to enable Gambian investors at home, as well as those in Diaspora who are acknowledged to contribute 1.7 Billion dalasis annually in remittances, to hold shares and cooperate with other shareholders to develop private sector investment in the country, the sub-region, the continent and beyond. Public enterprises will be managed to pay dividends which shall be utilized to invest in the foreign bond markets to secure our foreign reserves and ensure a stable balance of payment position in foreign trade.
9. ON THE PDOIS CONSTITUTION
That the letter and spirit of the text of the PDOIS constitution, which has been reviewed, debated and adopted, is the fundamental instrument that shall from henceforth determine and guide how the affairs of the party is managed in order to increase its efficiency and effectiveness as a fundamental guide for leadership of a free, open and self- reliant nation and a liberated, prosperous and self-determined people.
10. ON THE PDOIS MANIFESTO
That the content of Agenda 2016 concept paper, which has been reviewed, debated and adopted, be formatted by the Central Committee and presented as the Manifesto of the party for the 2016 to 2018 electoral cycle.
11. ON COMPOSITION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
That the members of the Central Committee elected by the Congress are mandated to liaise with the regional branches to enable them to elect the male and female regional representatives to the Central Committee in particular, and the regional representatives to the other bureaus in general within a period of six months after the Congress, giving priority to the Youth Bureau and the Bureau on Women and Child Affairs;
12. ON DIASPORA PARTICIPATION AND GENERATIONAL TRANSFER OF LEADERSHIP
That the Central Committee constitutes a steering Committee, with regional and Diaspora membership, to work out modalities for the election of the Secretary to the Bureau on International Affairs, and prepare concrete strategies and plans to ensure that a new generation of leadership emerges to fill the gap in leadership which may emerge as some members of the current leadership complete their mandate and retire.
13. ENHANCING YOUTH AND WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN PDOIS ACTIVITIES
That the composition of the Youth Bureau and the Bureau for Women and Child Affaires be expanded to include members from all regions, and steering committees be constituted and given mandate of a six month duration to work out the modalities of how to build a youth wing and women’s wing of the party to carry out the work of mobilization, sensitization and organization of the people who are enlightened to become conscious that they are the embodiments of the sovereignty of the nation and are empowered to determine who is to govern their affairs and how, which is the essence of a genuine democratic change.
14. ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PARTY MAGAZINE
That the party establishes a magazine known as Gonga (THE TRUTH), which will disseminate the party’s strategic objectives, policies, programmes and plans on all aspects of development, monitor day to day happenings in the country, continent and the world to identify shortcomings and standards of best practice in governance for a timely sensitization of our members to make them current in matters of information and knowledge of how to build a modern Sovereign Democratic Republic with free, dignified and prosperous sovereign people.
15. ON PROVISION OF VOLUNTARY SERVICES BY PARTY ACTIVISTS
That the party rejuvenate its early childhood educational activities by establishing the necessary facilities and strengthen its adult literacy programmes through night schools in order to show in concrete practice how education could contribute to the nurturing and empowerment of a sovereign citizen;
16. ON POLITICAL EDUCATION THROUGH SONGS AND DRAMA
That the party establishes a drama and musical group which would entertain and educate the masses on the negative effects of bad governance and positive attributes of good governance, as well as the rights and duties of a sovereign citizen in a democratic sovereign Republic.
17. ENHANCING GAMBIA’S STANDING IN THE SUBREGION, CONTINENT AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
That we will subscribe to universal democratic, republican and humanistic values which make the human person the embodiment of inviolable and inalienable human rights which we will protect and promote, with firm and unflinching commitment and thus enable the country to pursue sub-regional and continental unity and attain universal recognition and acceptance as a nation which is committed to universal values of liberty, dignity, justice, prosperity and human rights for all.