ENLARGING CIVIL LIBERTIES THROUGH PRISONER RELEASE SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY ENLARGEMENT OF POLITICAL RIGHTS THROUGH ELECTORAL REFORM
When the PDOIS leadership issued a clarion call for a mass release of detainees before the APRC commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the coup, we were simply articulating the sovereign wishes of family members whose incarcerated loved ones were under threat as the nation wondered why two Bills which were a threat to both civil liberties and political rights were put in the Public space in the month of June, 2015.
In short, before the prisoner release which is welcomed by the largest sector of Gambian society and advocated for without break by the PDOIS leadership, the nation was standing on a knife’s edge when it was put in the public space that the executive had published a Bill in the Gazette which aimed to amend Section 18, Subsection (2) of the Constitution, which indicates that the death penalty will not apply to crimes which are not associated with the use of violence causng death. Many people wondered why the government would wish to extend the death penalty to non- violent crimes which had not resulted in the death of a person. The general mood was that the executive was bent on extending the death penalty to all manner of prisoners. We explained the content of the Bill, argued that it could not be introduced in the National Assembly until it is published twice in the Gazette and the second publication not being less than three months after the first. We further clarified that the Bill could not become law until a referendum is held on it. Therefore, we began our advocacy for the rejection of the Bill at a referendum to be conducted by the IEC to combat the culture of executions. This was the first challenge.
The second bombshell was the publication of the Bill which aimed to introduce one million dalasi fee for the registration of political parties and other criteria which restrict the right to form and join political parties as enshrined in Section 25 of the Constitution as well as the introduction of non refundable deposits amounting to a million dalasi for candidates contesting the presidency, one hundred thousand dalasis for National Assembly candidates; 50,000 dalasis for Mayoral candidates and 10,000 dalasis for councillorship candidates which tend to restrict the right of qualified Gambians to stand as candidates as enshrined in Section 26 of the Constitution. Many wondered why such amendments were being rushed just before the beginning of an electoral cycle provoking the initiation of a vigorous campaign by the PDOIS leadership for a rejection of the Bill..
The uncertainty heightened when the National Assembly passed the Bill after reducing the deposits of a presidential and National Assembly candidate to 500,000 and 50,000 respectively as well as to make them refundable. The debate continued as to whether the President would assent to the Bill or not?
Rumours of Plans for Fresh Execution Before The Release
The uncertainty reached its brink when the President told the Muslim elders that he was just implementing the laws aimed at punishing convicts and that as far as he was concerned the law would continue to take its course.. This led to a rumour that the execution would resume. The rumour spread like wild fire causing uncertainty to spill over in every corner of the society and the media abroad. The PDOIS leadership was a focal point for enquiries. We had to sum up the mood against executive intolerance and impunity which was characterised by detaining innocent relatives of insurgents and maintaining a culture of detention without trial. It was improbable that any leader who was remotely sensitive to the mood of the populace would proceed with execution. We predicted a mass release of prisoners as the option the government would take to give its supporters a breathing space as they found it increasingly difficult to defend some of the actions of their leadership.
To those who could not predict the trend, the statement of the President on 22nd July, 2015, struck like a thunderbolt from the blue. Those who heard it went into a state of euphoria. As one released prisoner put it,: “The President stole the show.”
However on second thought he should be able to realise that releasing people whose liberty is at stake to unite with their loved ones is not a show, especially when it is taken into consideration that their incarceration was a life and death question.
Even though, there are many opinions being expressed on the scale of the release in our view the scales of Justice would lose its elasticity if it is not tempered with mercy. The exercise of prerogative of mercy for all categories of prisoners without exception is designed to temper justice with mercy. It is underpinned by the fact that human beings are capable of making laws to create penalties which exceed the weight of crime committed, perpetrate miscarriage of justice, trumped up charges or the delivery of not so judicious decision by the administrator of the law. On the other hand, convicts who are subjected to fair hearing before independent and impartial tribunals are also capable of repentance and transformation within seconds, minutes, days and years.
An act may be evil but the human being is always capable of doing good when given the right environment. Hence the exercise of prerogative of mercy should not exclude
any category of prisoners.
Hence the announcement was welcomed by many because of the time bound assertions, but most people waited to see whether it would happen in practice.
The PDOIS leadership shared the cautious anticipation and optimism of the people and the joy of the families when they were reunited with their loved ones.
Few would doubt that the decision was in the right direction. Life and liberty however are irretrievably linked. We therefore wish to caution those who are released that they should not be struck by shock to find that partners have moved on to cope with their absence. Forgiving and forgetting would be a valuable instrument.
Lack of adequate income could also be unsettling. One may have to return to a hand to mouth existence, requiring endurance to keep hope alive. PDOIS would wish to give assurance that another Gambia is possible to build in the very near future, if the vast majority opts for it.
Being pardoned should not be equated with the negation of one’s sovereignty. One should never accept to be dehumanised.liberty is the freedom to run one’s life without being obliged to owe obedience to any other sovereign person. Hence each released prisoner should aspire to surmount all challenges to become one’s sovereign, productive and dignified self.
As those released celebrate the joy of being reunited with their loved ones, the PDOIS leadership is sensitive to the plight of detainees like journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay and numerous others who are still under detention without trial, and do call on the government to prepare a checklist on detainees without trial and release them without delay. An end to the practice is fundamental if impunity is to be effaced and a society created where the executive and its agents would be protectors rather than violators of fundamental rights.
In the same vein, there are others whose relatives have disappeared without trace and need to come to terms with the reality of what happened to them. They do not know whether to keep hope alive or give up. They are still asking for explanation and are likely to continue to ask about the whereabouts of their loved ones until someone tells them the truth.
There are those, like Amadou Sanneh, who are expecting the executive to act without fear or favour, affection or ill will in implementing the principle of equity in the exercise of mercy.
We are still concerned with the bodies of the insurgents that should be handed over to the families. The executive is being called upon to reflect on such concerns.
ON ELECTORAL REFORM
While progress has been made, through prisoner release of death row inmates, in giving indication that the Bill to extend the death penalty to crimes not associated with the use of violence causing death, may be as good as dead, the Elections (Amendment) Bill has been assented to on the 20th July, 2015. It is now published in the Gazette as law. Hence there is no trend towards dialogue on electoral reform. Unilateralism still prevails on this score. PDOIS will analyse the Act and continue the advocacy for its repealing to inspire the voters to prepare themselves for a more inclusive Gambia in 2016, where proportional representation would be introduced to guarantee women and youth participation in representative institutions and all restrictive laws repealed.
In our view, Presidents have the right to prepare themselves for life after the presidency by building the best of constitutional instruments, institutions and standards of governance which they could be remembered for with pride and nostalgia, or prepare themselves to be presidents for life, in which case they manipulate constitutional instruments and state institutions to promote self perpetuating rule.
PDOIS is a signatory to the proposals and demands for electoral and constitutional reforms prepared by six opposition parties. We are convinced that it’s a better reform package than that offered by the APRC. We will continue to promote such an agenda as an alternative. Parties which are committed to such an agenda should make a choice whether to legitimise the unilateral action of the APRC or challenge it to promote electoral reform based on dialogue and consensus building . No law is permanent. With advocacy, they could be changed and refined to address the enlightened interest of the people.
The decision to decongest the prisons by releasing 227 of different categories of prisoners is in line with PDOIS Agenda 2016.
It is our view that prisons are meant for people who are threats to the larger society, and who need to be incarcerated to protect others while their rehabilitation is facilitated.
If the APRC Government is committed to good governance, it would go further to embrace the following policies and programmes in the PDOIS Agenda 2016.
It reads: “Our commitment to Republican and Democratic values, which uphold the Sovereignty of the individual citizen, obliges us to focus on building a society centred on the protection of liberty, dignity and self-worth, that is, all the fundamental rights and freedoms of a sovereign person, by ensuring that state institutions, agencies and natural persons are committed to such an endeavour.
5.2 Policy Directives:
No person is sovereign who is not free to give and receive information, and who is not free from arbitrary arrest and detention. No person is sovereign who is not free from coercion, torture and fear of injustice. We are therefore committed to the eradication of laws which hinder freedom of expression, and the nullification of state policy directives which hinder dissemination of divergent views and dissenting opinions by the state and non-state media. We are committed to the eradication of laws, institutions and law enforcement practices which hinder freedom of expression and undermine the security of a sovereign person, or do not protect and enlarge liberties, rights, security, safety and freedom of sovereign people. We are committed to the enactment of laws, establishment of institutions and law enforcement practices which enlarge and protect rights and freedoms. We will ensure that conventions on fundamental rights and freedoms that are ratified by parliament will automatically be domesticated by promulgating relevant provisions in the constitution.
Institute a four-year Human Rights Protection and Enlargement programme, characterised by the enactment of a Freedom of information Act to remove secrecy from public administration and make administrators accountable to the public they serve and responsive to enquiries of the media that are supposed to keep people informed.
Review the Criminal Code to decriminalise provisions that are not reasonable or justifiable in a Republic or Democratic society, and rationalise penalties to be equivalent to crime committed.
Conduct reform of law enforcement agencies and practices.
Conduct reform of prisons and prison administration. Introduce community service as alternative to imprisonment measures to eradicate retributive justice. Since no sovereign citizen would choose to occupy a government post of a killer of killers, the death penalty will be abolished and life imprisonment maintained as the severest punishment for a crime.
Build community police relationship.
Establish a National Human Rights Commission to monitor and ensure protection against violations of Human Rights.
Establish a National Police Service Commission to exercise direction and control over the police force. It will be given mandate to appoint senior officers of the force on the basis of merit. An Inspector General of Police will be appointed with the approval of the head of state, but once appointed may only be removed on grounds of misconduct or infirmity to be determined by a tribunal and subject to approval by the National Assembly.
Any finding and recommendation for dismissal will be subject to approval by the National Assembly.
A National Prison Service Commission will exercise direction and control over prison administration. A Director General of Prisons will be appointed with the approval of the head of state, but once appointed may only be removed on grounds of misconduct and infirmity to be determined by a tribunal and subject to approval by the National Assembly.
Imams of Major mosques and Priests of major churches, Union leaders and leaders of registered civil societies or associations, will be honorary human rights commissioners and social auditors who will visit jails, prisons and other places of detention to check conditions and make representation for compliance with laws, or propose improvement or reforms in the administration of public institutions such as prisons.
A National Council of media Practitioners would be established as a self- regulatory body for media practitioners who will have no judicial powers but will exercise persuasive influence aimed at promoting professionalism and integrity in the performance of duty, and resolving disputes to decongest the courts and make representation to promote the welfare of media houses and practitioners.
5.5 Action plan:
Speedy court appearance is the best guarantee against forced confession through torture or other forms of duress.
Courts shall be required to take judicial notice of any detention beyond the 72 hours established by the constitution, for a person to be held without bail or court appearance and count the act as duress.
A sovereign person has a right to change a government, but has no right to kill and incite hatred to change a government. If he or she kills, or destroys property, he or she will be charged for killing or destroying property. Hence there will not be any need for a crime of treason under a republic. If anyone incites hatred against another, the aggrieved person could file a civil suit for damages. Hence there is no need for a crime called sedition in a sovereign Republic.
Educating people on their fundamental rights and freedoms and promoting respect for and observance of those rights by the state institutions in particular and all natural persons in general, will take centre stage and civil laws will be developed to address violations of rights and freedoms, through alternative dispute resolution measures and if need be, the courts in their civil jurisdictions.
Human rights defenders will receive maximum media coverage and protection to ensure that violations are reported, exposed and violators named and shamed.”
This is the transformation programme PDOIS intends to put in place to promote and protect Civil rights. We therefore hope that the climate of reunion which is cultivated by the prisoner release would be extended by drafting and enacting a Bill on General Amnesty which should reassure Gambians abroad that they would be offered legal protection when they come home.
A climate of tolerance and openness is the road to peaceful co-existence of people and peaceful transfer of power from one party to another and one generation to another. Only presidents who prepare themselves for life after the presidency could foster such tolerance and openness. Is Gambia heading towards such a trend? The contradictory signals do not give a clear picture. The future will tell. History will give its verdict. The future however belongs to the people. The stand they take will determine the destiny of our country. Each has the duty to choose one’s side in this battle for a better Gambia and take a stand. There is no middle road.
My in-law, you are desperately needed here! Please translate and summarise – in that order. I gave up when I couldn’t understand what “prisoner release” has got to do with “enlarging civil liberties space” – afterall Jammeh warned they will back in there if they “misbehaved” on release. My in-law, you PDOIS lot always make me fill dumb!
My in-law……Don’t worry about the relationship between “prisoner release” and “enlarged civil liberties”….It’s not the principal message of this statement…
Just “consume” the message from PDOIS and then ask whether it offers a better alternative to what transpires today..
After all, that’s the whole point of being an alternative party…
True, “there’s no middle road”…
Genuine Gambians, friends & humanity at large, got to “choose the side of battle for better Gambia”, against our Murderous Tyrannical Oppressive kanilai yaya Killer Devil & murderous elements, stooges, agents & voluntary / paid mercenaries…
As future TRULY belongs to the oppressed Gambian people; our collective endeavoured stand will SURELY determine the destiny of our country…
God helps & bless collective endeavour to salvage Gambia; Ameen.
Bax, instead of all this blah blah, why don’t Gambia’s Opposition unite and have a single manifesto and a Shadow Cabinet – Uhuru and Ruto did that and they were two bitterly opposed and powerful tribes.
Whether it is blah, blah, blah or not is a matter of personal opinion and as always, everyone is entitled to their opinion…
Personally, I think this statement from PDOIS is a timely reminder that they have always advocated for the use of the prerogative of mercy to de-congest the prisons..
The statement also reinforces the assurances, if you like, that a PDOIS Government will enlarge personal freedoms, etc..
I think many will agree that a united opposition to challenge the APRC is long over due because it offers the most realistic chance for change through the ballot…
Let’s hope.that this time around a format that suits all is.agreed in time.for.2016 and I.do.think that the APRC Government has made that a very realistic possibility with the recent elections amendments…
I think it is impossible for.any single party to mount an effective challenge against the APRC in light of recent changes to the elections.laws…
To enhance on Bax’s points, with a united front with committed members, ple will vote massively. Even in the event that they do not win the presidential rounds, they can deprive the aprc of a parliamentary majority which they can use to change all the bad laws like +50% majority, etc.
In the likely event that he attempts to dissolve parliament, the opposition majority house can initiate an impeachment on him which will of course lead him to his exit.
D new opposition led parliament could as well rejuvenate d apathic population to take interest in the governance of the country which all would expose him more and evict him even b4 d next election.
Indeed my in-law, however boring it sounds I finally totally agree with your position here: only a united opposition front can defeat the APRC at the ballot box. And indeed the recent changes to the law by the APRC government may force the opposition to unite behind a single leader and single NAM candidates for practical financial reasons. But I have a feeing that such unity has taken so long because everyone is scared of what may happen in the event of the demise of Cecil the Pride Leader. The power struggle that follows may lead to the death of all Cecil’s off-spring – and the contenders for Pride Leadership may have to go into exile. This fear is also what makes the usual poachers (USA, UK) leave Cecil in place – more so knowing what happened in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria after they poached the pride leaders there.
Actually Bax, Halifa’s stance against opposition unity has always been based on what would happen under the new Pride Leader. And the International Poacher Consortium has always avoided any attempt at “regime change” for the same reason. In actual fact, Bill Clinton did try to take Saddam Hussein out with a guided “Bow & Arrow” and once missed him by 5 minutes and ended up destroying the Bagdad restaurant where Saddam had been dining. In the end Bush got Saddam and millions have died since as Iraq disintegrated. No one, not even the poachers, want such mayhem for Gambia (except maybe Maxs and Bajaw – sorry, I think they fell asleep and stopped ranting so I thought I should wake them up! On second thoughts I should let sleeping dogs lie lol).
Anyway, nice to have you back Bax, we can have a sensible discussion, blah blah or no blah blah! The thing with policies Bax is that it is all blah blah unless those policies have any hope of being implemented. They are saying the same here in UK about Jeremy Corbyn for who I am most certainly voting – hopelessly probably as the British establishment would rather have an MI5 coup than have Jeremy Corbyn as PM. Ditto Halifa I suppose – hence his constant blah blah.
I better stop – I am getting Maxs R-virus for which no vaccine has yet been found by the KairoNews Scientists (lol).
OJ is making the electoral and constitutional reform proposal look like a Udp agenda rather than that of the opposition as a whole. Isn’t that not pathetic??
Dida, it is funny that you are even scare to mention your dear leader name in your write up though I think you are having a Stockholm syndrome . I have suggested to you to see a psychiatrist who might recommend a group therapy In which you will be able to express your feelings in a more open and honest manner . I think you might even have your friend general Lang tombong tamba and co join you in your group. The group meeting ( therapeutic meeting) will help to enhance your self esteem and reality orintation . It will also help you recognize that abuser and oppressor is powerless and lack self esteem, therefore he is a coward who used fear and intimidation to control your mind.
I always believe that every options should be put on the table to get rid of Jammeh including electoral process which doesn’t even guarantee peaceful change of government. Though I am not advocating for violence but if violence is the path to regain peace and justices in our country , then that is route chosen by Jammeh. Remember , Jammeh has every opportunity to resign now , call for electoral reform , end impunity , create an environment for freedom of expression and press , allow opposition parties to have equal access to state media , allow judiciary to be independent , release all those who are politically and illegally imprisoned , declare his assets and be accountable to Gambian people . Jammeh also an opportunity to create democratic environment where constitution , rule of law and human rights is respected. The above mentioned criterias are non-negotiable rights which every patriotic and true citizens is ready to fight for .
The mayhem you mentioned in countries like Iraq , Libya and others was as a result of dictatorship which was supported by untruthful and dishonest individuals of your kind . You didn’t know the history of our country because you were imported by dishonest system of governance to come and do dirty works for them , when you felt out with the dictator , you went to London and continue to release your garbage to pollute our discussion. For the record , our country has best human rights and democracy during JAWARA’s government in the whole of west Africa and second in the whole of Africa . Now we have the worst human rights in west Africa and the third worst in Africa . Jammeh’s has brought lies , deception and hypocrisy in our country and these lies and deceptions are done by dishonest Gambians and greedy , ruthless foreigners like Dida who care for his pocket line. Off course USA , has used Jammeh to carry out human rights abuses as was reported by recent senate declassified intelligence report. USA and any country is looking after their country interest and this is why patriotic Gambians will do anything to fight for the interest of Gambian people . Don’t you know that even Nelson Mandela was listed on terrorist watch list while fighting for freedom of South Africans. Get some education before releasing garbage . You need to read extensively about military dictatorship so that you will understand that factors such as super power countries , ignorance population and dishonest individuals , poverty , disunity of political parties and silenced majority all contribute to entrenchment of dictatorship. Are all those dictators you mentioned not supported by super power countries when they are doing dirty jobs for them? Well the good news is that , they are now done with Jammeh and his time is up. The signs and symptoms are clear to all before the operation begins.
Maxs: I gave to President Jawara the “Independent Democracy Survey” myself after laminating it for him – and he served me a plate of Benechin with his own hands! Don’t talk blah blah to your grandfather, buoy!
Dida, the fact about you is plain to Gambians; you can continue in your Murderous kanilai Devil missions, befriending the very oppressed opposition masses in pretence; BUT with repercussions…
You are the Murderous kanilai Killer Devil enablers through your connections with langtombong, late baba jobe, amadou samba links; because you have no other reason meddling in Gambian affairs except in your materialistic endeavours like before, in services of our Murderous Tyrannical kanilai Killer Devil…
You delve into opposition matters but you are anti-opposition, because you advocate in the voluntary services of the Murderous Evil kanilai killer against the very wronged oppressed people who played hospitable hosts to you…
You only sound opposition opinion just to enable the Murderous Tyrannical kanilai Killer yaya learn probable opposition manoeuvres before hand…
You are now waiting for Langtombong to be recycled into the evil murderous fiefdom services, for you to be offered a possible lifeline back in fluking Gambians again, once more; crux of matter is, every part player, be DEVIL yaya Evil Killer jammeh, EVIL langtombing, & EVIL foreigners like LUNTANG JAHW, GAHN BU BOHN-dida Jallow halake, etc, etc, will ALL be accountable in post dictatorship; that’s totally clear…
Gambians will SURELY see to revival democracy, justice, fair play & rule of law in Gambia NO matter how it takes…
God helps & bless collective endeavour to salvage Gambia; Ameen.
Dida, sir Dawda is very tolerance and down to earth grandpa who respect everyone including his opponents . So I am not surprise for him to serve you plate of benechin . Can you say the same about the tyrant who illegally detained you at mile two without proper sanitation or good food to eat? Jammeh’s arrogant , low self esteem and narcissistic personality disorder won’t even allow him to give a civilized welcome to any human being. I know you are a internet troll but our focus is to expose your dear leader. I don’t even believe that you meet sir Dawda Jawara but if you did , his welcome was different from the devil , the husband of evil lady Zainab.
Jammeh’s arrogant behavior is always directed at his guest and aides. He has no mercy for those protecting his ass because he always slap them or tortured them with slightest mistake when performing errands for him within statehouse. I am sure Jammeh himself can attest to this fact if he read this post or his security details who cover his sexual abuse or torture of Gambians can attest to this . Dida , last time you told us that you know your friend very well but I think you really need to learn who is jammeh. Jammeh is fake and evil individual who is completely opposite the Jammeh who see on TV or in public . Dictator Jammeh live a double life , he is a child rapist , kidnapper , drug dealer , money counterfeiter ( has counterfeit machine at the basement of statehouse ) , idiolworshipper , non Muslim, sexual pervert , murderer, he enjoy torture by watching video or pictures of his victims , con- artist , greedy , selfish and above all a evil person who doesn’t want anyone to succeed. The above descriptions are real characters of Jammeh . Please I want you , anyone and kaironews to take note of these descriptions because when he is out of power you will see people who will come forward to mention this characters from their personal experience with him. Dida , I know you have nothing significant to say but a garbage to release here . Come up with better explanation to defend him .
OJ’s interview on Coalition in 2011 below;
The leader of the PPP, Omar Jallow has said the opposition leaders have to apologise to Gambians for having failed them for the past decade partly resulting in their dastard performance in last week’s presidential election.
Speaking in an exclusive with The Standard at his Pipeline residence, the first time he’s talking to the press in three months, Mr Jallow said: “We, all the opposition party leaders, should have the courage and the decency to apologise to Gambians for our failures from 1996 to learn from our mistakes and come together and remove the APRC from power. We should have learnt from our mistakes in 1996, 2001 and 2006. After the establishment of NADD we were able to win four out of six by-elections. Therefore it was clear that if united, we would bring about the desired positive political change. But come 2011, we were as divided as before. We failed to fulfil the wishes and aspirations of the thousands of Gambians who looked up to us for guidance and leadership to salvage The Gambia from the clutches of a dictatorship. Therefore on my part, I am apologising to all Gambians here and abroad for our ability to lead.”
‘Clearing the air’
Mr Jallow said while he was abroad from 11 September to 21 November, a lot of things were written about his position and involvement in the opposition alliance talks.
“Now I want to clear the air. I attended four of the opposition meetings summoned by the UDP.There were four proposals; a UDP-led coalition, an NRP-led coalition, a national convention propagated by PDOIS and a coalition led by Ousainou Darboe but not under the banner of any party proposed by Landing Jallow Sonko. After the second meeting, Ousainou made it clear he would not be able to contest under any other banner except the UDP and Landing Jallow withdrew his proposal. During these meetings, I tried to convince all the opposition leaders to support the UDP-led alliance proposal for the following reasons:
First, we were negligent in waiting for four years and nine months before consulting each other, so time was very much against us.
Second, the fact of the matter was that in 1996, 2001 and 2006, Darboe had more votes than any other opposition candidate.
Third, because of time and resource constraint, it would be more cost-effective and practical if we support the UDP after they made concrete recommendations acceptable to me. They said if we have a UDP-led alliance government, the leader will serve five years, retire and not support any candidate; that the government he or she will form will be inclusive of all parties in the alliance and that all decisions will be taken consultatively.
At the third meeting, Hamat Bah said he had consulted his membership and that while those in the Diaspora allowed him to partake in any coalition, those domiciled here demanded he must lead any alliance he takes part in. Halifa Sallah talked to his guns and started promoting his Agenda 2011. “
Mr Jallow said he believed“it was unnecessary for Hamat to propose anything but join a UDP-led alliance because that was his position in 2006 and that was what he used to pull Darboe out of NADD and form a UDP-led alliance. In his own words, ‘in politics, you talk about numbers’. Since nothing has changed in the equation I do not see why the shift in his position. And about Halifa’s talk about conventions and primaries, my political experience informs me that that is applicable within a single party where more than one person is interested in leadership not in a coalition of parties.
“After the fourth meeting when I knew there will be no single candidate to represent all opposition parties, I decided to withdraw from the negotiations and allowed a member of my party to sit in the negotiations with the specific instruction that we’ll only campaign for a single candidate and that our support for the UDP was premised on that. I told them otherwise we will not support or campaign for anyone because it will be waste of time, energy and resources. But that if they agree on a single candidate, I had an open ticket and would be back in The Gambia within 24 hours to campaign. They did not and I returned to The Gambia 72 hours before election day and cast my vote for the candidate I supported.”
The populist Serekunda politician and famous minister in the First Republic continued: “It was a lost opportunity for us. If we had banded together, we would not only have been in a good stead to wrest power from the APRC but the momentum we would have generated would have propelled us to get a minimum of twenty seats in the National Assembly elections and that would have stopped impunity in the country. Now I am appealing to the leaders of all the opposition parties to come back to the drawing board and form a truly united from for the parliamentary elections. The issues that unite us are greater than the issues that divide us. I am devastated. I am appealing to the opposition leaders to learn from the serious and dismal lessons [of the presidential elections]. If we fail to do that, then all the opposition leaders in The Gambia will be living on the wrong side of history.”
“The Standard Newspaper”
Since nothing has changed, we hope that OJ the Mr Bigmouth , who has no preconditions, will endorse a UDP proposal whenever it comes out, and not flee the country during election time as he always do.
I see discussions as a way of interactions to learn and to share…and that’s how I want to continue seeing participation in online discussion fora. ..
And since we are discussing issues of national and sometimes, global concerns, there should.be no room.for.being personal with each other…Let’s just express our opinions and leave others to do the same…I may not agree with your choice of associates but that’s your right, just as it is my right not to associate with certain people…All I can do really is to reason with you and try to convince you to switch sides, but, at the same time, recognising your right to your choice…
Though the power of the Internet should not be underestimated, I do not see myself as.the voice that will bring about change in The Gambia…I will be kidding myself if I think so…I don’t even have a vote because I leave abroad…
That duty and responsibility falls upon the shoulders of those who are on the ground, dealing with the daily realities of living in The Gambia, as advocates of (political) change….
These are the key players that will bring about change when they are ready…We can’t afford to push them into it before they are ready because that would be a recipe for chaos…
The nations that are up in fire today were forced into change that they were not ready for and no one wishes that for The Gambia…
The phrase “All options are on the table” is very fashionable and popular today, but I think we need to be realistic about the options available to us and weigh them in order to select the most achievable and least costly..
It may be worth mentioning that when individuals like President Obama use the term “All options are on the table”, their adversaries sit up and take notice because, not only have they got the military might at their disposal, they also have the economic, financial and political clout to exert pressure and achieve their aims…
I am not sure if those in this struggle that use this phrase really have that many realistic options…Hence, it becomes empty rhetoric which no one takes seriously…
And if people are pressured into action, then we have unfortunate and tragic events like December 30th and it’s attendant consequences for the people on the ground: more road blocks; heavily armed and nervous soldiers in our streets; endless harassment of people going about their normal daily lives and the occasional tragedy that lead to the death of young Binta Jarju…
Indeed, we want Jammeh out but we don’t want to worsen an already bad situation for the people…Al least, I certainly hope so…
It is difficult to be honest about December 30th because of the tragedy and the pain it evokes for many people but I hope it will not happen again…
I am not saying that those who want to take on Jammeh with arms should desist from their choice of options.. That’s not for me to say, but I do think sensible people will agree that to embark on a mission that your adversary already knows about and is waiting for you is suicidal…It should never happen again.
Of course, 21years of Jammeh is another year too long but people should not despair because attitudes are changing and change is within sight…All that is needed is patience to achieve a peaceful and organised change…Just because Jammeh threatens and uses violence does not mean that everyone must follow suit…
Resorting to violence actually plays into his hands because that’s what gives him an “acceptable” excuse (by the people and global partners) for his violence against the people…..I think we are better than that…
Oops…sorry for the wrong choice of certain words above….
Anyway, as for Halifa’s stance on opposition unity, I think we can only go by what is in the public domain and not try to second guess anyone, and as far as I can see, Halifa/PDOIS have made their position very, very clear…
And from what I understand, they are very much in favour of an alliance, but a NON PARTISAN, ALL PARTY alliance, and a short lived strategic one with a specific mandate, whose flag bearer will neither contest, nor support any party or candidate for his/her successor…That’s my understanding of their position…
I personally agree with this format for the fact that it offers the best strategy/strategies for meaningful changes that is/are in the interest of all, without giving anyone undue advantage over the rest…
We all know that the Gambia’s biggest problem is not what happens under any “Pride Leader”, but rather , the system that the “Pride Leader” operates within…
It is an inherited system, from the colonial era, that was mainly designed to serve the interest of a foreign entity by exploiting the masses and entrenching the rule of the privileged…And despite half a century of self rule, nothing of significance has changed in the fundamental design of the system…
We have a president who enjoys the powers of a monarch and lives like one;
We have a parliament that sees it’s role as serving the “monarch”, rather than holding the “monarch” to account in order to serve and protect the interest of the people;
We have a workforce that is subservient to the monarch, by design, and serves and protects the interest of the “monarch”, rather than that of the people…
Even at the local level, institutions that were created to be independent and to serve the local communities are made subservient to the monarch, either by law or practice, and serve the interest of the “monarchy” mostly..
Despite a change of government in 1994, the fundamentals have remained the same and the same old script continues to be played and lived by the rulers and the ruled…The difference in style, as one contributor once stated, is only due to the difference in the characters and personalities of the former “monarch” and the present one…
Knowing what we know about PDOIS since its emergence, ie, ..
– why it emerged;
– how it conducted/conducts itself;
– what it intends to do in government;
– what it will never do in government; (etc)
Some of us can understand why they may be reluctant to be part of any arrangements that merely seek to change faces in government, without changing the fundamentally flawed system which facilitated the metamorphosis that gave rise to Yaya Jammeh…
Because it is a system that is rooted in, and entirely dependent on, an institutionalised nation wide genuflection towards the “monarch” and the institutions of the “monarchy” to be recognised for anything, and this has the inherent potential to create another “Yaya Jammeh” or rather, many more “Yaya Jammeh’s”…
One merely has to follow Gambians’ online discussions to see ample evidence of the attitude of the average Gambian to divergence of opinion…
And this reminds me about an answer Fatu Camera gave to Pa Nderry when asked to describe Yaya Jammeh…She said that Yaya Jammeh is your “average Gambian”…How true that is…
I have no doubt in my mind that if some of the people I encounter here or hear on other public media were the resident at No.1 Marina, many like me will be heading for the exit, just as it is now…
That’s the sad but hard fact about The Gambia and the average Gambian and that must change if we are going to have any chance of creating an open, democratic society..
The murder of Cecil was cruel and unnecessary…I will have that gloating doctor swing for this gruesome crime if I don’t know any better…
And Jeremy Corbyn..? He.is certainly rocking the boat and sending shivers down the spines of the establishment…Let’s give him a chance…Come on “Newer Labour”..
Indeed my in-law, I must not mar what is already a perfect analysis with a lesser response. Nevertheless, the pudding is in the eating! Me thinks a PDOIS-pudding and a Corbyn-pudding will never be served to our two nations – alas.
On Fatu Camara’s statement in your piece above, I’d add that I in my book I adapted Malcolm X’s phrase “made in America” and said of Jammeh that he is “made in The Gambia”.
On the matter of the Mile 2 prisoner release, I have to admit the “clemency” gesture has been soiled by the “parades”. It would have been much better to let the prisoners out and leave it at that (but as Maxs and Bajaw would say what does Dida know, he is not our “average Gambian”).
Have a nice week.
Wonder what OJ has done or said again that has ruffled feathers so much…
“Wonder what OJ has done or said again that has ruffled feathers so much…,” Bax.
Its not what OJ said in 2011 but what he said recently in 2015 that ruffled feathers so much. Lafia should go ahead and inform people on what OJ recently said in his interview.
Bax, the phrase ” All options are on the table ” are realistic options because those in the struggle have economic , financial and political and military clout to exert pressure directly or indirectly on the dictatorial regime in Banjul . Here is why :
You will agree with me that diaspora contribute 22 percent of GDP. This is very significant number without which there will be worst economic condition in the country . Most Gambian’s families today depend on diaspora for their daily living such as food , clothing and shelter and also payment of school fees and medical bills. A lot of social events are also sponsor by diaspora .
When it comes to finance , diaspora is in better position to help the people and political parties more than an average Gambian in the country . Diaspora contribute financially more to survival of opposition parties than local citizens. This is why the dictator and his idiotic Mps came up with election act 2015 amendment to prevent the participation of diaspora financially and to hold political office. Why do you think this is necessary if diaspora is not a financial and political threat to dictator Jammeh and his regime ? Diaspora financially contribution is the key to sustainability and encouragement of coalition or alliance to effectively challenge the dictator for effective electoral victory. It is therefore erroneous to think that they do not have financial and economic clout to exert pressure for meaningful change.
Politically , diaspora is playing a huge role in exerting pressure on the dictatorial regime directly and indirectly. Diaspora is engage in nonviolent resistance or civil resistance using protest march, demonstration , civi disobedience , education , raising awareness , and information warfare. In this forum , we are engaging in education, information warfare , and raising awareness of the regime brutality , human right abuses , Jammeh’s sexual predatory behavior , corruption and mismanagement. Diaspora political activism enable the Gambians and international community to be fully aware of the brutal and authoritatarian nature of the regime. Diaspora continue to expose this regime state sponsored terrorism , corruptions and human rights abuses to international forum , conferences, symposium, meetings and also to foreign governments , international organizations such as UN , EU, IMF, amnesty international , Article 19 and others . Because of this exposure , these foerign governments and international organizations were able to exert pressure on the regime and also to cut off funding which the regime used for its corrupt practices and oppression. Without diaspora , dictator jammeh will be killing more Gambians than he has already killed , inprisoned , disappeared and exiled . So Bax , don’t underestimate the power or influence of diaspora in terms of economic , financial and political pressure it is exerting on jammeh. Sometimes , I don’t understand why you are so much against diaspora when it is known fact that even the opposition party leaders depend on them for their political activism and financial sustainability .
Bax , the phrase “all options are on the table ” can be divided into nonviolent resistance ( massive demonstration , popular uprising ) , electoral process , and violent methods ( military coup , arms struggle , sniper attackers , car Bomb, or use of light skinned young Gambians girls or any method that would kill or remove Jammeh from power) , which all aim at change of government . Nonviolent or civil resistance and political process is the one majority of diaspora is engage in and most prefer method . It is also the one I just described above. Nonviolent resistance today lead to some senior officials to refuse orders and thus leave the country . As the strength of nonviolent resistance increases , you have now seem that significant information is leaking to diaspora and this is why Jammeh’s sexual life , corruption , disappearances , torture and demystification is open and known to public . It is also the same reason , you will see in very near future when jammeh’s closed security officers will refuse to take illegal orders to kill citizens as it happened in Libya when their dictator instructed his military to kill civilians and some of them defected . It was also the same reason that UDP refused to take illegal orders from corrupt police force which resulted to stand off during their recent tour of the country.
Finally , the violent means Of change of government is a choice which is going to be made based on the brutality of the regime, Jammeh’s unwillingness to allow democracy to prevail and his willingness to stay in power at any cost . Some citizens will use these factors mentioned above as their reasons to attack , stage a coup or even kill Jammeh if they can since Jammeh used the same method when he came to power . As Aung San Suu kyi , a Burmese pro- democracy leader stated ” it is Never easy to convince those who have acquired power forcibly of the wisdom of peaceful change “. With this in mind , I believe Jammeh will never easily leave power without significant non-violent and violent means . Therefore every possible means should be used to get rid of him . December statehouse is wake up call for him to know that patriotic citizens will do anything to change the system . In fact , it is outright false to state , the attack has worsen the situation in the country when the same brutality has been going on for 21 years . I understand , you only think that we cannot change the system From outside and I think it is ignorance to suggest that only those on the ground can effectively change the system .
Bax, I am sure if no one is taking us ( diaspora ) seriously as you implied , Jammeh would not have extended his so called amnesty to diaspora . For the record the biggest threat to Jammeh’s presidency is diaspora especially those in USA who he frequently mentioned in his stupid talk. You can continue to be naived and believe that Jammeh is democratic who would listen to endless letters from you and Pdois without engaging in protest , demonstrations , sit-In , exposing him and his family , disobeying his illegal orders . The fundament question I have for you is ” what is the most achievable and least costly method to remove dictator Jammeh from power and how can you guarantee that , the method will not result to violent ?”
Search me Bax!
But it is a fact that the slightest wind gets online feathers all over the place!
Dida, it’s actually NOT about “what dida knows” but RATHER, what dida is all about; EVERY mature Gambian, GENUINE to struggle to free Gambia, knows you are in services to defend Evil Devil yaya killer jammeh; against the very majority who hosted you hospitably, it’s a CRIME by ALL & ANY stands ANYWHERE on earth, for citizens & foreigners to FACILITATE, AID-ABET MURDEROUS TYRANNICAL OPPRESSION on a people, like you dida are doing in our case in Gambia…
It’s acknowledged fact that genuine Gambia development, is for GENUINE citizens, & friends not necessarily Gambian; but just like indicated by PDOIS in this piece “there is no middle road” in our struggle, like you dida want to pretend; you are EITHER with the Murderous kanilai Devil or with the wronged oppressed majority of Gambians…
You dida, chose indulgence in Murderous Tyrannical kanilai Killer yaya Devil’s services, AGAINST the very Gambians you want to go to town with…
Gambians have their BIRTHRIGHT to involve in Gambian state of affairs but non-Gambians have REASONS / MOTIVES only for involvements, which are occasionally naively mistaken for “freedom of opinion expression”; this determines what course of actions the individuals indulge in, just like you dida does…
GENUINE Gambians WILL ALWAYS take upon your TREACHEROUS AID-ABET of tyrannical oppression in Gambia, & any double-agents for that matter, for SUCCESSFUL reclaim salvage of Gambia…
ANY Gambian citizen & foreigners who committed crimes against Gambians & humanity WILL all account for actions; this is NO wishful thinking but REALITY…
You are to lie in your bed the way you choose to make it; especially between GOOD & EVIL…
God helps & bless collective endeavour to salvage Gambia; Ameen.
Dida , at least today you have admitted the truth that your dear leader’s clemency is political motivated and is all gear toward his selfish interest . I think you have began the group therapeutic meeting which your psychiatrist must have recommended. By the way , how is Lang Tombong doing in your group ? Lai joof has given up because last time I checked he indicated he is old and dying , therefore he is going to his grave with Jammeh’s support as Boxer indicated in animal farm . I only hope he will present strong evidence to the almighty judge who they all blamed for their imprisonment .
Good to see you are reading a book Maxs! But you got Boxer wrong: firstly, my 11yr old daughter says Boxer thought he was going to a Retirement Home. Secondly, she says all the animals loved Boxer and they cried for Boxer when they saw the words “Knacker” on the carriage. That said, I would have thought that Boxer is Tamba – rather than Lai Joof.
Animal farm is great book to read and it’s true reflection of what is happening in our once beautiful country. , I am sure Napoleon and his special trained dogs are watching General tamba right now . I haven’t heard about squealer ( Yankuba touray ) all these years but I forgot he was replaced by Dr njoku bah and then later Modou sabally . How about snowball ( sana sabally ) in Germany now , he must have being getting old and facing retirement . I only hope Napoleon is poison by young female pigs before the end of rainy season or he is simply chase away by his special trained dogs as was done to snowball . Bax, will also agree with me , Napoleon and his gangs of pigs now form hegemony and having preferential treatment . They have violated every promise they made at the start of their so called revolution. Now jammeh can even have sex with young girls as reported by many newspapers . Before they are done , Jammeh and his gang of thugs , will eliminate each other before sanity prevail in our country .
What OJ has don? Bax Asked, absolutely nothing, Bax. Yaya Jammeh does not like what been said here, so his agents has to intervene to diseropt, interupt, and distract.
Bajow you are my hero.. keep it up.
i listened to Halifa’s Leral Show interview on Freedom yesterday, and the PDOIS position on opposition unity cannot be more clearer. Halifa has been saying the same thing repeatedly and consistently since the demise of NADD, but somehow people just want to create their own reality and expect everyone else to do their bidding. This is just pathetic.
What is more disingenuous is the fact that they know what needs to be done, but deliberately skirt those issues and talk about other things. They know that the consensus on the Gambian political reality as far as elections are concerned is to field one presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential elections.
Rather than talk about how this can be achieved, they prefer to talk about political parties coming together to make a tour of the country and advocate for electoral and political reforms. And after they have completed those tours start bickering about who should lead the opposition and which party has the largest support base. We end up wasting everyone’s time and each go their separate ways.
There are those who have no political constituency or leverage but wants to make demands. There should be a boycott of the elections; the incumbent should resign and not offer himself for election in 2016 and so on and so forth. Demands that are not realistic and may defeat the objective of any rational approach to solve the Gambia’s political predicament.
PDOIS ‘s observation with regards to life after the presidency or a presidency for life is an apt description of the stark political reality that the country faces. And the evolution of the political process, with all its inherent contradictions, may have the capacity to resolve this dilemma. So let the process evolve.
Indeed Kamalo, at long last we agree. The opposition’s “predicament since the demise of NADD” is LACK OF UNITY.
Only a SINGLE Opposition Presidential Candidate and only ONE NAM opposition candidate in each constituency can effectively challenge the APRC.
By the way, even in democratic Germany, Merkel is I hear going for a 4th term (20 years) as Chancellor in 2017. As long as the Gambian opposition cannot offer a United Front, the APRC juggernaut will continue winning.
Maxs, 90 per cent in your review of Animal Farm. But a big howler! Snowball is Koro Ceesay, NOT Sana Sabally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks very much Purell; we are all each others’ heroes in this struggle; everybody’s contributions matters…
For the success of any struggle, all areas need to be explored & covered effectively; in that it’s vitally essential for comrades to switch our sixth senses on, to be able to counter all the killer devilish elements; some of whom are in the Murderous kanilai Devil’s camp, some are loose or unattached on the Murderous Tyrant’s voluntary services, whilst we have some imbedded in our midst pretentiously in the struggle as double agents…
In that, mature thinking is required to deal with all the Murderous kanilai Devil’s advocate elements & agents for the successful liberation of motherland..
God helps & bless collective endeavour to salvage Gambia; Ameen.
Thanks bajaw for highlighting the need to be careful of pretentious one among us. I trust those who made their position clear and what they support but those wolves in sheep clothing are real dangerous element .
“Indeed Kamalo, at long last we agree. The opposition’s “predicament since the demise of NADD” is LACK OF UNITY.”
“This is the case. Unity should not be an end in itself but a means to an end. To end the culture of self perpetuating rule. To give our country a new beginning so that we can entrenched all the republican and democratic values that will engender a true democratic dispensation.
“Only a SINGLE Opposition Presidential Candidate and only ONE NAM opposition candidate in each constituency can effectively challenge the APRC.”
This can be a formidable challenge. It may be possible and it may not be possible. We have to wait and see. We have argued about these options for years but it has never materialized. May be 2016 will usher in a lot of surprises.
What I would be most content with, however, is a constitutional amendment before the 2016 elections that will entrenched a two term presidential limit and a 51 percent majority in the constitution. If not anything else let us have these two clauses amended into the constitution.
“By the way, even in democratic Germany, Merkel is I hear going for a 4th term (20 years) as Chancellor in 2017. As long as the Gambian opposition cannot offer a United Front, the APRC juggernaut will continue winning.”
Well, my astute political scientist Halifa Sallah have said it loud and clear. Power concedes to only Superior power. Now it is left to the Gambian opposition to garner that superior power.
This is NOT good Kamalo. We are agreeing too much! Are you trying to opt me into PDOIS? Lafia Manju Panju please help!