Our politics is centered on elections. The underlying assumption is we are a democracy. This isn’t true! Jawara has commingled PPP and state to gained undue political advantage. He has also appointed his political representatives at each division as his Election Returning Officers. Yahya also commingled A(F)PRC and state and even claimed personal ownership of state. He on the other hand appointed one Election Commission that he fires and hires as he wish. Both exert similar control over the local administrative structure thereby dictating the very nucleus of our society. In this formulae there can be only one outcome – the one in power will always win with the seeming will of the electorates.
The problems are not necessarily Jawara and/or Yahya as it is the system that gave them an unlimited and unchecked power. The sustenance of that increasing executive power (dictatorship) is the direct result of no/limited political education of our citizens. We create these men – simply listen to what Jalamang Keita, late Chief of Niani told Jawara in one of those Meet The Farmers Tour, what late EK Sarr, wrote about Jawara being the Jesus Christ of Gambia and the behavior of our supposed political elites on the retirement announcement of Jawara at MansaKonko. The same is true on Yahya – listened to Dembo Santang Bojang’s (Chief of Brikama), ‘remain in power even if we (people of The Gambia) eat grass’.
Under the current political disposition regardless of who assumed power and through what means, the likely outcome is a continuation of dictatorship. Sure the dictatorship of different individuals will likely be different based on their personality and lust for power. The tried strategies of elections, coup and/or Yahya dying will not deliver democracy at our shores. The best they could do is a new president.
After 50 (or 20) years we need a different approach. This is if our goal is making our nation ‘A FUNCTIONING INSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY’. Let us go after the underlying problems. Any gainings in that endeavor will by definition take care of all the effects and make us a functioning democracy.
What’s the underlying political problem of The Gambia? Simply we’re NOT A DEMOCRACY but only in name. To make Gambia ‘A Functioning Institutional Democracy’ would require ‘A CITIZEN’S POLITICAL REVOLUTION’. That wouldn’t happen in a vacuum; it has to come from us with some guidance of visionary leadership(s) with wisdom. Here are basic of that approach:
‘A National Face’ (an organization that represent us and put forth a democratic transformation agenda)
‘A National Democracy Agenda’ – our goal breakdown programmatically
Organize/Mobilize Our Citizens – both inside and outside of Gambia our citizens are educated and rally behind such a nationalistic cause (not parties or groups, tribes, etc.)
Lobby The International Community – for moral, political and financial support that gave us leverage to push back authorities in Banjul to capitulate to our demands for reforms
Unadulterated Capacity Building of Our Citizens – to educate our citizens on (I)ndepedence (R)epublic (D)emocracy (IRD).
What’s a democracy Agenda? Examples are:
Constitutional Reform/Overhaul – more importantly mechanisms to the adherences to the constitution as is
Bill Of Rights
Elections and Elections Management
Impartial Justice Administration and Due Processes of Law
Separation of Powers
Decentralization of Governance – delineate authority between Banjul, Regions, Districts, Villages, Wards, etc. with defined and delineated authorities
Cultivate Circular Democracy Culture – this is an unadulterated civic education where the very definitions of IRD are explained to the citizens and their unlimited role as the sovereign. This goes further to ensure each citizen is capable of living a democratic lifestyle hence equip with skills and know-how to check government excesses.
This is the call The People’s Movement For Democratic Gambia (TPMDG) is making on every Gambia. Visit us a www.movementfordemocraticgambia.org. Join us to advance this CAUSE. There is no limit to your participation – you maybe become a functionary, an advocate, a member, etc. based on your own desires, interests and expertise. We are not and will not be the National Face but facilitators, educators, organizers, mobilizers, fund raisers, etc. This doesn’t require you to abandon your party, group/organization, tribe, etc. but simply working together on ‘Our COMMONALITIES’ as citizens of that NATION.
Public opinion matters in a democracy but Gambia is a monocracy. We can express ourselves as much as we want that autocrat in Banjul wouldn’t care. What he will understand and care is an equal or more opposing force. With our union plus the support of the free world we can over time garner enough political leverage that will cause his capitulation. We don’t have guns to fight this battle. Even if we do or have others to do – can we really trust them? Any use of force in Africa ended in worst governance than their predecessors including Yahya’s. In addition many came with untold human suffering with long lasting negative impact. We can save Gambia from going down that lane by civilly managing our political transformation on our very own terms.
For The Gambia, Our Homeland………..To The Gambia Ever True
Burama FL Jammeh
The People’s Movement For Democratic Gambia
810 626 3924
Brama : I don’t know if you are blind or deaf or simply looking through the wrong end of telescope. who in there right sense of mind would compare Yaya Jammeh to that of Jawara??
Burama, i think you have done a lot of thinking and i am inclined to understand your rationale.However, a movement whose role would be educating and mobilizing the people in the Gambia will have to be registered either as a political and or civil society organization, to be effective knowing the climate in which they will have to operate.The M23 in Senegal comes to mind which is more of a protest movement to put pressure on the state to do certain things or not to do certain things, while leaving political parties to go on with their political agenda of gaining power through the ballot. The other argument you are likely to hear is “how long will this process take before any tangible results emanate?. Some criticized PDOIS and argue that a lot of sensitization is already done by them suggesting the party takes a different strategy. PDOIS however maintains that sensitization and mobilization is a continuous process and a part and parcel of the whole thing. I would think that your movement should just be a support group of a party whose programmes you are in line with and give moral and finance, etc support to it rather than relegating them to secondary roles with the pretext that the country is a monocracy in the whole transformation process of society.
Any organization faceless or not that will build an equal or more opposing force would have to be on the ground and operate as a political entity.MOJA-G has come to mind and that is why they face a lot of challenges as the government of the day did not trust them and therefore afraid of them. I am not sure if that is what you want.
Some very good ideas that can achieve attitudinal change in The Gambia, over time.
Quite right about how both ruling parties used state power to give themselves unrivalled advantage over their opponents, as well.as, encouraged sycophancy amongst the population, especially the educated elites…
What choice has anyone got of finding a decent job in a “monocracy”, except falling in line..
Also right about the difference in dictatorships being only due differences in the characters of individual dictators….
There is certainly no comparison between Sir Dawda Jawara and Yaya Jammeh and hence, the difference in the impact of their administrations on the population, but both presided over a “monocracy”: A system of government that gives the ruling party a strangulating grip on almost every facet of life in the country.
However, Mr Jammeh’s organisation must understand that they cannot sideline the opposition, but work with them…It is the opposition, being governments in waiting, that can lead the way to a more and genuine democratic Gambia.