I have the honour and pleasure to inform you that, the Committee of Concerned Gambian Citizens, comprising seven Gambians from all walks of life and hundreds of thousands like-minded compatriots, around the world, has succeeded in convincing opposition political leaders to launch a winning coalition party strategy for the December 2016 National Elections. A copy of the Committee’s letter on this matter is attached for your perusal and records.
The launching ceremony will be held tomorrow 20 March 2016 at 4:00pm with a consensus building approach which will solely resonate with the interest and aspirations of all Gambians for democratic change of the 21 years dictatorship and inherent modern day slavery. We shall publicize the outcome of the meeting as soon as possible to facilitate the sharpening of our future campaigns at all levels.
The Committee also considers it important to mention that, this long awaited prospective coalition paradigm, if embraced with sincerity, transparency, tolerance (respect for the individual and mutual support) by all of us, will be the right path to victory not for the Committee of Concerned Gambian Citizens alone, but it will be for our entire suppressed and oppressed nation. Therefore, let all of us commit ourselves to adopt these professional and civilized norms and values by working together strategically to leverage our movement for democratic change with focus on saving our nation come December 1, 2016 National Elections or never!!!
I pray that God guides our hidden and open actions towards the common good of our national, amen.
Let us keep in touch.
Warmest regards with best wishes to all.
Committee of Concerned Gambian Citizens
COMMITTEE OF CONCERNED GAMBIAN CITIZENS FOR CHANGE:
09 March 2016
Mr. Ousainou N. Darboe
United Democratic Party (UDP)
Hon. Omar A. Jallow
People’s Progressive Party (PPP)
Hon. Halifa Sallah
People’s Democratic Organization
for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS)
Hon. Hamat Bah
National Reconciliation Party (NRP)
Hon. Lamin Waa Jwara
National Democratic Action Movement
Mai Ahmad Fatty
Gambia Moral Congress (GMC)
Hon. Henry Gomez
Gambia Party for Democracy
& Progress (GPDP)
Mr. Mama Kandeh
Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC)
Mr. Majanko Samusa
National Convention Party (NCP)
Hon. Buba Aye Sanneh
& National Assembly Member
Brikama, Western Region
Hon. Muhammed Magassy
Independent Candidate/ Basse
& National Assembly Member
Brikama Near NAWEC Plant
Dear Political Leaders,
Subject: Call For A Credible & Gender-Balanced Coalition For Gambia- Third Republic
Premised on our inalienable human, constitutional and civic rights as well as our responsibilities, we, Committee of Concerned Gambian Citizens, representing hundreds of thousands like-minded compatriots around the world, who are committed to support your efforts to democratically end President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh’s 21 years of undemocratic political leadership resulting to modern day slavery with the face of excessive human rights abuses, ranging from lack of freedom of speech and association, intimidation, abject poverty, unlawful detentions, extrajudicial killings, murder, disappearances of innocent Gambians, wrongful dismissals of civil servants, migration of Gambian intellectuals and promising youths to the diaspora, wish to make a solemn appeal to you, gentlemen, to urgently form a credible and gender-balanced coalition party in order to win the 2016 national elections and then usher our country into democratic governance, peace and prosperity.
Gentlemen, forming a credible and gender balanced coalition and adopting a winning citizen-centered political strategy, will rekindle the frustrated spirits and aspirations of all Gambians for change. This will also send a powerful political message to President Yahya A. A. J. Jammeh and his detractors that Gambians have enough of living as second class citizens in their own country. While this situation is blatant, we would also encourage you to constantly update the international community on his excessive human rights abuses, personal greed and monopoly of community and national assets, including development projects and the economy.
As you are aware, President Jammeh grabs vast agricultural lands from poor communities and interferes in business operations of hardworking citizens. These universally unacceptable acts undermine their inalienable human and constitutional rights to gain economic and social security, which he swore to protect constitutionally.
It also goes without saying, that his total disregard for the interests of Gambians, including their livelihoods, reflects the chaotic state of our economy, human, and social capital. From an economic perspective, we are witnessing an alarming rate of domestic and international borrowing, with its negative impact on our national budget and wellbeing of all Gambians. According to IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) for low-income countries, dated 05 March 2015, The Gambia is accumulating a heavy public debt burden which poses significant risks. “The present value of debt to GDP, breaches the thresholds under a one-time depreciation shock before subsiding. The stock of total public debt is significantly above the indicative threshold and is a major source of concern. The Gambia faces a heightened overall risk of debt distress because domestic debt is costly and poses high rollover risks. These results highlight the small and open character of the Gambian economy and its exposure to exchange rate variation. This situation is exacerbated by lack of prudent fiscal and imonetary policies of the kind designed in the rapid credit facility (RCF) arrangement with the Central Bank. The Gambia’s total public debt currently stands at 100 percent of GDP in nominal terms and just above 80 percent of GDP in net present value terms, more than 25 percent above the indicative threshold for public debt distress. Even under the significant fiscal consolidation foreseen under the baseline of our framework, public debt would not fall below the threshold until 2019”
It is evident that the net domestic borrowing alone has rendered the Government’s inability to meet the basic challenges for growth, sustained development and employment creation. This severe strain impacts negatively on the lives of all Gambians. Gambians are experiencing hardship and unacceptable poverty as a result of rising prices of basic commodities and stagnant wages coupled with lack of cost of living incentives to keep up with inflation. Furthermore, there is massive unemployment, especially among school drop-outs and graduates coupled with an increasing brain drain and migration of youths to Europe through perilous journeys via the Mediterranean Sea.
In addition, there is a large fiscal deficit resulting from President Jammeh’s violation of the constitutional rights of citizens to participate in policy decision-making and to secure self-employment opportunities from the main sectors of the economy, namely, agriculture and tourism through his disguised land grabbing under the pretext of his Vision 2016 and slogan “ grow what you eat and eat what you grow” The country is thus exposed to current and future major challenges, such as current skyrocketing interest rates coupled with his unilateral closure of foreign bureaux and a related credit crunch in the informal sector, which is predominantly operated by Gambian entrepreneurs, especially women and youths. Such undemocratic actions, do not only jeopardize competition, but, also discourage investors to the extent of disabling the overall private sector to create employment for citizens, especially the massive school drop-outs.
From sub-regional and regional perspectives, World Bank reports reveal increasing organizations, including the Bank itself, which are providing significant capacity building opportunities to young entrepreneurs in Africa, including Senegal. Gentlemen, our realities are that Gambian youths cannot benefit from these opportunities because of the lack of vision and good leadership of President Jammeh to create the required enabling environment for development cooperation with these organizations.
Gentlemen, the Gambia/Senegal border closure is equally affecting indigenous enterprises, most of which are operated by women and youths. The situation also impacts negatively on our main national revenue, namely re-export trade. How does that work out for Gambian businesses and President Jammeh’s Vision 2020, if we may ask? It is important to mention that the printing of more money by him will not help us keep up with the rising public debts. There is too much money in circulation and that is scary and you need to challenge the course because The Gambia needs to secure emergency funding from international partners, notably the EU and Commonwealth, with whom the he has unilaterally severed cooperation.
In light of the foregoing, we, Committee of Concerned Gambian Citizens, representing hundreds of thousands of like-minded compatriots, the signatures of whom are being collected to send to you, under a separate letter, are confident that the way forward to make the dream of our nation for democratic change, peace and prosperity a reality is for you, leaders of opposition political parties, to urgently create a credible and gender-balanced coalition party with a strategic winning road map. Suffice to say, that this road map may take a few days but, that the electoral process takes long to win elections. Best political practices employed by committed opposition political parties have proven that a credible coalition party, even in a most hostile environment, can win elections, as evidenced in Senegal, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
In terms of focus of proposed coalition party’s road map, we recommend that it includes, but not limited, the following strategic demands for President Jammeh to eliminate all forms of undemocratic acts against its formation and smooth operations:
1. end the illegal service of the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission
2. repeal of the 1997 unconstitutional and related 2015 electoral reforms regarding the age limit to contest for the presidency and costs of vying for political office.
3. demilitarize campaigns to ensure level playing field for the electoral process.
4. end deliberate delays and/or refusal to issue permits for campaigns and rallies.
5. guarantee free access to the media and public meeting facilities.
6. end human right abuses: extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detentions and incarceration of political prisoners.
We also recommend that, from geopolitical and development cooperation perspectives, that the coalition party, once formed, should immediately embark on the following strategic activities:
1. aggressive campaigns to educate the electorate on the raison d’etre and dynamics of the coalition party as well as on their rights and responsibilities, with focus on mustering their commitment and loyalty.
2. safeguard the security of the coalition political party leadership.
3. tackle systematically dissenting political party or parties.
4. maintain the remarkable support of Gambians in the Diaspora.
5. build strategic political alliances and cooperation at all levels with focus on the African Union(AU), ECOWAS, The Commonwealth, the European Union (EU), the United Nations, and bilateral and multilateral Institutions.
6. adopt transparent and accountable fund-raising mechanisms as well as use of funds.
7. engineer and enforce radical democratic constitutional and electoral reforms for a smooth transition to the formation of the Third Republic.
In conclusion, it is important for us to reiterate our hundreds of thousands unified Gambians voices in the country and diaspora by appealing to you to recognize that our nation is in an emergency situation and needs urgent salvaging by all Gambians through a credible and gender balanced coalition of all opposition political parties. Time is of essence and there is no more time for partisan politics because realities have revealed that no single party can win the 2016 elections in the current undemocratic environment. Please note that, there are many committed Gambian talents in and outside the country, who are willing to assist you in these processes and we could give you their contacts upon your request.
At this juncture, we wish to invite all of you to a general meeting on Sunday, 20 March 2016, at 4 pm in the YMCA conference hall, in order to discuss the way forward, which would culminate in a two-day conference of all opposition political parties and reputable Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), starting from Saturday 26 March 2016.
The focus of the conference will be to devise and adopt a winning political strategy for the 2016 national elections and transition for the Third Republic as well as to publicize the outcome of the conference.
We look forward to receive your positive and urgent response in order to avert our nation’s loss to ignominy and cruel consequences on all Gambians.
Please accept, gentlemen, the assurances of my highest esteem and regards.
Fatoumata Jallow –Tambajang
National Concerned Citizens’ Committee
Gambian Online Media Outlets
A very good proposal and if adopted and implemented , is the best course of action. Preferably I would like to see a formidable and well respected woman to lead . I think it is time for a woman to coordinate these men so that our country can finally be rescued . Great moves .
This is a very good initiative and I hope it is given chance to succeed…
I noticed that the date and time of this meeting coincides with PDOIS’ planned rally at Bundung…I hope a way is found round this time-table conflict …
Well done concerned citizens for change…
Is it just me or is the heading, “Opposition Agree To Launch A Winning Coalition”, inappropriate for the story..?
Unless I need my reading glasses, it seems to me that this is just the launching of coalition efforts, by a group of concerned citizens, rather than an agreement for coalition…
I think, “Concerned Citizens Launch Coalition Efforts”, would have been a more appropriate heading for the story…Just an observation because my hopes were shattered when I read the story, given the heading. .
You do not need a reading glass on this one Bax. It is Fatoumatta Tambajang.
With Fatoumatta Tambajang’s name on it, it is already fishy. I don’t trust the story.
The statement is badly written. The worst official communique I ever read. Don’t trust anything in it guys, Its from Fatoumatta Tambajang.
Lafia, badly written by which sets of standards? Grammar, content, policy goals, a misplaced message for the wrong target group etc?
I suspect – reading between your lines – a personal dislike for Mrs Jallow Tambajang on your side. If that is the yardstick you are dooming the noble initiative up front, I consider that a rather unfortunate approach on the side of people aspiring to change the political situation in our country.
I think Mr. Darboe proves you and Mai Fatty wrong by accepting the invitation. This is responsible and forward-looking.
Having said that, I believe that Mrs Jallow – Tambajang’s initiative is quite noble and has a chance of winning should the responsible leaders on the ground listen and transcend individual party interest for the common goal. The initiative is realistic if UDP is on board early on, taking part in the strategy and selection of a coalition candidate and ultimately jointly taking ownership of whoever is selected in a fair, transparent and due consideration to the individual party shares in past and present presumped electoral votes – analog proportionality.
Finally, I also think that a woman is fully equipped to lead us and that scenario should qualify Mrs Jallow – Tambajang to be president of the Gambia. We are not there yet. The initiative today is not about her ambition but about a winning coalition in which her role or that of any convening person, in a few government, will be determined by the coalition parties.
Give the initiative a chance!
kinteh, I have said on day one that Mr Darboe will be attending. I don’t normally respond to people who can’t appreciate simple facts.
Mr Touray, please let us give them chance before we embark on pre-empty strike. Mrs Jallow is well qualify to be president but she has not been considered as we speak. So I think we need to focus on unity and have a dialogue. Everyone must give up something if we want to rescue our country. I think this is a very good start.
Bax, I think the headline is appropriate because they were consulted. Remember, UDP is waiting for such opportunity and I believe PPP and NRP too. So now that geniune Gambians want to engage the political leaders for coalition, I think this is best course of action. Let us avoid divisive sentiments.
Another group just sprang up. Interesting! This clearly shows that the Gambian people are not ready for change. These old people will never lead a modern country like the Gambia. They are not welcomed and we will not vote for them.
The person replacing Jammeh will be an educated youth who understand the Gambian issues. He would be Gambian educated too because those western educated fools are never good for Africa. We have seen that time and time again.
The Gambia is for all of us so please let’s go to the polls in December to exercise our rights. Thank you.
Max, the content of the statement is misleading and hyperbolic, according to my findings. That needs to be pointed out before people start believing in falsehood
The UDP leader was invited to the proposed meeting. He decided to accept the invitation so as to avail himself with the opportunity of hearing what the organisers have to say. The UDP will not shun any body or group but will never hesitate to state the party’s position where appropriate
The UDP is going in on a Fact Finding Mission. They do not have an agreement with anybody or group about anything. This needs to be made clear in the interest of clarity and truth.
Too little too late. I commend Ms Tambajang and O.J JALLOW for their honest stance on this very important issue. I still have my doubts that the rest of the opposition will not agree for a coalition because they are overly driven by their presidential ambitions. I’m talking about Ousainou Darboe, Halifa Sallah and Hamat. But be rest assured that we the Gambian people are patiently watching. We have the weakest opposition opportunists in the subregion. No individual ambition is more important than the Gambia’s current predicament. We shouldn’t even be begging them for unity. They should do whatever it takes to make sure that the Gambia is free from the shackles of dictatorship even if that means suspending one’s personal ambition for the sake of our dear mother land. We will never forget anyone who put the Gambia first in our time of need. We currently knew where OJ and Ms Tambajang stand. But Darboe and Halifa Sallah are too busy playing hide and seek with the Gambian people. They are all talk no action.
Malang Jammeh you are talking crap. If UDP does not agree a coalition with any party, it will be because others refused to abide by the principles that governs coalition politics, one of which is that the biggest party leads.
For your information all the parties on the ground had representatives present in the above meeting except PDOIS. PDOIS did not send a delegation either.
Will brief you on outcome tomorrow. Inshallah.
Keep us updated…
Look there is a serious in the way the meetings was arranged. Fatoumatta Tambajang is utterly incompetent
I have never read a strong and purposeful winning coalition strategy like this one before despite, any constitutional, bereaucratic or language short falls this press release may be accomodating in its structure.
@Lafia and Bax’s democratic sophistication is far ahead of the average Gambian in my opinion and so we hope to meet them at these heights soon.
Oh my! People, please let’s try to be optimistic than to be pessimistic. Let’s have respect for our people and recognise their efforts. Anyway, As for me, am convinced that this move is workable and should be given a chance to succeed.