Discontinue Inter-party Talks Until…


Discontinue Inter-Party Talks Till These 6 Conditions are Met!

According to the privately owned Gambian daily, The Point, all the seven registered opposition parties have been locked in talks with the ruling APRC just three weeks after the coldblooded murder of Solo Sandeng, a UDP militant and the arrest of nearly all of that party’s leadership. The parties were said to have come to terms to “collectively address the current political tension ahead of the presidential election slated for 1 December 2016.” They were reported to have agreed “to jointly establish an ad hoc committee which will be in dialogue with all the civil and security authorities to address the current political tensions and prevent future ones.” The political parties were said to have made this agreement at an inter-party committee meeting recently held at the head office of the Independent Electoral Commission in Kanifing.

Representatives of the parties that attended the meeting, including that of the APRC, were said to have signed a joint communiqué issued after the meeting. The Point article referred to the communiqué as stating that “the deliberations were held in a climate of mutual understanding and respect.”

But The Point article was rather short on the content of the communiqué even if it came through that: “Aside from addressing the current political tension, the parties have agreed to reconvene and structure the interparty committee to promote peaceful political party activities, and the holding of free, fair and genuine elections.”

The article mentioned that they are to transform the interparty committee into “an effective and efficient crisis prevention management and resolution mechanism. The article went on to state that “The meeting reviewed the existing memorandum of understanding that established the interparty committee, to ensure its observance”.

It was mentioned that the “The UN resident coordinator and the ambassadors of US and EU were also in attendance as observers.”  Finally, the article stated that: “The communiqué was signed by the representatives of APRC and the opposition parties namely, GMC, GPDP, NCP, NRP, PPP, PDOIS and UDP.”

But listening to an online radio‘s interview of the PPP leader O.J. there were many who phoned in to condemn the inter-party meeting and even condemn it as an act of hypocrisy. Is that not so?

Well, let us look at it. Let us start by asking what is this Inter-Party Committee? The Committee was established more than a decade ago when ex-President Olesegun Obasanjo visited the Gambia to mediate between the Gambian dictator and the political opposition. The committee came out of this proposal. But it was meant as a medium to facilitate dialogue between parties in government and those outside government. The murder of Solo Sandeng and the detention and torture of protesters is not solely a UDP affair, but that of the whole political opposition and even the whole nation, especially when almost all the UDP leadership is being incarcerated. Therefore what should have been done before calling an inter-party meeting was to call a meeting of only the opposition parties. 

Such a meeting could then table conditions before agreeing to meet with the APRC. Conditions more apt would be:

1.         That the APRC Government should institute an independent inquiry into the killings or disappearances of Ebrima Solo Sandeng and others.

2.         The second would be the release of all persons detained in connection with the April 14th and 16th events.

3.          The third would be the dropping of all charges against all thirty seven persons

4.         The Government to compensate all injured and or manhandled by the security forces during the events.

5.          Prosecuting all those found culpable in the unlawful arrest, detention, torture and killing of peaceful protesters.

6.         Broadcast and publication of an official apology to the victims and their families.

The meeting of the opposition parties therefore should have been a platform for tabling and agreeing on the conditions before agreeing on meeting through the inter-party committee.

Meeting with the APRC was indeed a terrible mistake because they needed such a meeting more than the opposition. It would help ease both the domestic and international pressures mounting up against them as well as the international isolation. It would somewhat lighten the aura of notoriety that shrouds over the Jammeh regime. Dictator Jammeh’s threat of throwing out the Senegalese ambassador as a result of the massive protest demonstration at the Palias Obelisque in Dakar that Friday is ample evidence of his vulnerability to outside criticism.  Holding a meeting of the Inter-Party Committee with him observed by the Resident UN Rep, the US and E.U. ambassadors was giving him a lot in exchange for nothing.

 But was it all just a mistake of O.J., Hamat Bah , Halifa Sallah or was it deliberate? Well the UDP was also present and Kaironews reliably learnt that just before the UDP leadership went out for their protest meeting that Saturday 16th April, party leader, Ousainou Darboe asked Hon. Dembo Bojang (popularly known as By-Force) not to join them as they would need some executive leaders free and alive in case of anything and he could not have deliberately went into the folly of attending such a meeting.

Kaironews also reliably learnt that the call for such a meeting was an initiative of O.J. A source who was at the UDP leader’s house on Sunday 17th April had reported that O.J. had made this call at the gathering that day. When he tried to act as Chair for the discussions that spontaneously sparked off that day, the lady, who is a UDP Executive member had to stand firm, saying this was a UDP gathering that could not be chaired by a PPP member… Interestingly enough, days earlier the PDOIS leader had sent a letter to Mrs. Tambajang and her Committee of Concerned Citizens explaining why they would not attend her meetings of trying to unite the opposition. In his words, seen by a Kaironews source there was already an Inter-Party committee and there was no need of forming another one.  

Perhaps that gathering and its lack of direction from the leadership of the opposition political parties exposed the calibre of political leadership material and their seeming lack of vision and lack of well-thought out direction or most likely perhaps down-right political opportunism. Only the APRC and Jammeh stand to gain in this saga. Jammeh has once again it seems outwitted and outsmarted the opposition leadership. With this ineptitude of short-sightedness and lack of visiona by the opposition party leadership, one wonders whether they have the wherewithal to effectively challenge the dictatorial and brutal regime of Jammeh.

Anyway, as so many people rightly said it is better we aim our guns against Jammeh than against each other. More important it is not late on this particular case. We are now calling on the seven opposition parties engaged in the Inter-Party talks to discontinue the talks if those Six demands are met. We call them to send only two of the representatives to present these demands to the Government of the Gambia.



  1. I agree with this writer 100 percent , these has to be the conditions attaché to any deal with APRC especially when they are finally on trial in their own court of law for killing, torturing, and raping among others . anything short of that is catastrophic mistake . Deliberate or Mistake, Gambian people would not forgive or forget the perpetrators. I think this is nothing other than conspiracy, and I have gut feeling that UDP Party is infiltrated as result, that indeed breaks my heart .

  2. I agree with this writer 100 percent , these have to be the conditions attaché to any deal with APRC especially when they are finally on trial in their own court of law for killing, torturing, and raping among others .

    anything short of that is catastrophic mistake . Deliberate or Mistake, Gambian people would not forgive or forget the perpetrators. I think this is nothing other than conspiracy, and I have gut feeling that UDP Party is infiltrated as result, that indeed breaks my heart.

  3. These opposition leaders especially Halifa , Ahmat and OJ are only interested in their personal interest which is leadership . They are currently using this crisis for their political end and do not care whether the dictator is remove or not . Jammeh has no respect for these people simply because he recognize that they do not care for general welfare of Gambian people . All this inter-party activities is for their interest . They do not care about solo Sanderg and all those who sacrificed for Gambian people . How can they even sit down with a tyrant who has never invited them to the statehouse for the past 22 years . They have committed a political suicide . The current inter-party discussion should be dissolved.
    Currently , Jammeh is keeping quite and taking a low profile . He even allow peaceful demonstration to take place without any interference from the security forces . Jammeh has avoid any confrontation now . He is going to come back to use this crisis to his advantage . The inter-party dialogue is one weapon he will use . Jammeh will go further to indicate that there is peace in the country and Gambian people are free to speak their mind as evidence by daily protest . All these assumptions and predications might happen and when it happen we must blame the opposition leaders for their lack of leadership , vision and political suicide . Jammeh has even allowed United nation human rights inspectors to visit the prison and this was done to demonstrate to international community that he has nothing to hide despite the fact that there is horrific human rights violations in the country . Our ineffective and clueless politicians are sitting idly by while Jammeh has strategize his way out of this crisis . Unless There is continuous demonstration with high intensity , I suspect Jammeh will employ all kind of strategies to drag this court hearing to point that people gradually will loss interest and it become UDP executives and their families problem . When that happen we can kiss goodbye to peaceful electoral victory as Jammeh will be sworn in as next president . I believe , the inter-party agreement is the worst agreement even the primary school children never agree to but in The Gambia , we lack leaders with vision , intellect , integrity and commitment for national cause . This evil deal is worst than treasonable crime committed by Jammeh himself.
    It remain to be seen what Patriotic citizens will do in days and weeks to come .

    • Why is (Mr) “All options on the table”, rejecting the diplomatic option..? Isn’t diplomatic option part of your options..?

      “All options”, if it indeed means that, should not exclude the diplomatic one, because it is a credible and viable option, through which the International Community can be engaged and involved in the process for legitimate and orderly change..

      I hope that in your accusations (of lack of concern for the fate of Solo Sandeng; of self interest; of political suicide), you are not disregarding the fact that the UDP was a party to the inter-party dialogue and communique.

      So don’t stop at naming only OJ, Hamat and Halifa. Find out who represented the UDP at this meeting and include him/her in your list. That is the only way that you can earn respect for your rejection of the inter-party talks and communique.

    • @Max : “Jammeh will go further to indicate that there is peace in the country and Gambian people are free to speak their mind as evidence by daily protest .

      All these assumptions and predications might happen and when it happen we must blame the opposition leaders for their lack of leadership , ”

      What…! Blame opposition leaders when Jammeh uses the daily protests to claim that he respects free speech, even though they have not been part of the protests or initiated any..?

      If you are brave enough to name OJ, Hamat and Halifa to be blamed for giving Jammeh the opportunity to present the inter-party dialogue in his favour, why are you not brave enough to name those who have initiated protests and are protesting daily for the same reasons…That would be consistency, won’t it..

      And don’t forget to add the UN to your list, for giving Jammeh the opportunity to claim that he has nothing to hide about the prisons.

      How absurd can any argument be, one wonders..?

      • Arguments in most cases are absurd because they touch more the feelings than reasonings. Can’t Jammeh set up the Mile2 out like a ‘five star’ in thirty minutes despite a U.N impromptu visit?
        Discoursion isn’t it anymore. Its mere arguments you try to provoke @Bax. It idoesn’t take a dime to understand what your writings are at. The U.N can find the Mile 2 prisons at international standards with no evidence of the crimes the Jammeh junta have committed but I think the U.N personnel are aware of such a probability in results of their mission better than you, Max and everybody.
        People out here sometimes behave like Nia.

        • What are you on about ? I just stated that Max’s argument to blame OJ, Hamat and Halifa is absurd..

        • Ggapm, Bax is indeed confuse and naive . He failure to understand that Jammeh can do anything to please UN inspectors since he is under pressure . As you rightly stated , Jammeh can Make mile two prison look like international standard when he knows the inspectors are going to visit the place . Confused people like Bax cannot understand that .

          • If you have any understanding, you will realise that I am only pointing out the absurdity of your argument, that the prison visit will be used by Jammeh to pretend that the prisons are fine.

            or that the opposition engaging the government will be equally used by the regime as evidence to their advantage.

            I know that prison visits will not reveal prison conditions unless it is unannounced and has access to all areas, including the maximum security wing. The UN is aware of this and that is why your argument is absurd.

      • If you called this disgraceful and despicable agreement a diplomatic approach then you are igonrant and lack of conscience . Stop your hypocrisy . If this was a diplomatic approach , did they even discuss the manner of peaceful protest , the concern of those arrested or killed , the regime brutality as part of agreement .? You like to argue for the sake of it .

  4. Quote : “…….Hon. Dembo Bojang (popularly known as By-Force) not to join them as they would need some executive leaders free and alive in case of anything and he could not have deliberately went into the folly of attending such a meeting.”

    Comment : What is the writer saying : That UDP did not attend this inter-party dialogue and did not sign the communique ? Has UDP issued any statement to that effect ?

    Unless we see an official statement from the UDP, disassociating itself from this communique, any attempt to create the impression that they were not party to it, will amount to nothing but mischieve and misinformation. Period.

  5. A heap of bull crap is what all this is about, and even the ‘condition attache’ no.1 adds to the mound of mess.
    This is just one way to demonstrate how much many Gambians perfect in the ‘art of shedding crocodile tears’ in funerals.The ‘we are one family’ rhetorics and all the values some people have attached to all those cultures and traditions must be where our mind sets shoot froms.

  6. To write, ‘shoots from’

  7. On the issue of the demands that the opposition should put forward, as a precondition to talks, I think it is important that we put The Gambia’s political situation into its proper context, because unless we do that, people will continue to propose actions that are divorced of reality and realism..

    The points that are put forth here as possible demands that the opposition should make are very good ones and I wish The Gambian opposition has the political muscle to flex and compel the regime to succumb to its demands, because unless they can do, they are not in any position to make demands that can be taken seriously by the regime, never mind, be compelled to meet them.

    Of course, we can say the regime is under pressure because the spot light is on it in a way that has probably never happened since Jammeh ascended to power….and of course, there are people in the street, even if not led by political parties, who are demanding justice and putting some level of pressure on the regime…But are these enough to be used as a serious bargaining chips” by the opposition (parties & civil society) in any negotiations with the regime.?

    In my view, the opposirion has only the crowds, but for the crowds to be an effective bargaining chip, their presence or the effect of their presence on the streets, must not only disrupt and weaken the grip of the regime over the state, but it must seriously threaten to sweep them out of power and make them feel so too. It is only then that demands can be made that the regime will be forced to meet or else, face the consequences.

    I am not on the ground but I don’t think even the most optimistic of the pro-revolution camp will be brave enough to claim that the crowds have reached that capacity to be used as a bargaining chip. Indeed, there are crowds protesting around the court house and the efforts should be appreciated, supported, encouraged and their bravery and self sacrifice recognised and applauded, but when the population of over 2million people is considered, the valiant efforts of a few become insignificant, as a serious bargaining chip for the opposition. Hence calls for demands to be made under these circumstances, as a precondition to talks, without any disrespect, amounts to idle talk, pure and simple. Not only will the regime disregard your demands, but you will leave yourselves open to redicule by those who know and can obviously see your weak position at the negotiations table and see your demands, as a sign of naivety.

    The best cause of action, given the signals coming from the international community, transmitted to us through the communique of the working group comprising ECOWAS, AU, UN, etc, is to continue the political engagement for reforms and sensible governance (including discontinuation of these cases and release of all), whilst exploring winning opposition alliance strategies for the next round of elections.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, this problem is ours and it is us alone that will solve it, but we need unity, maturity, proper understanding of the situation and a cool headed approach to be victorious.

    There may be a burning desire to fight “fire with fire” and that can work, but where there is the option to fight “fire with water”, the sensible thing to do is to use that option, as it is the surest and safest option. I beg you all to consider that option. No disreapect; no ill feelings…The Gambia belongs to us all.

  8. Bax , you have convinced me now that you must have bipolar or memory lost . My first reaction to this article was that I considered inter-party agreement as disgraceful and despicable act and you have considered the agreement as diplomatic approach . You went further to indicate that I unfairly blamed the opposition leaders such as OJ and sallah . Now you have taken a U turn and indicated that the proposal made by the author are good and important ones . You went further to indicate that they should discontinue the cases and release all political prison . Is this not what I emphasized and considered their signed agreement as disgraceful and despicable because they don’t seem to care about solo Sanderg and all those who were arrested .
    Bax , to be honest with you I must confess to you that I heard double talk from you . I am not sure where you stand. When I blame the opposition leaders for signing this agreement , you claimed that it was diplomatic approach when it was clear to you that there was no pre-conditions with Aprc during their meeting . Since there was no pre-conditions such as the ones stated in this article , therefore we can safely state that the opposition leaders have committed a political suicide and are not after the general welfare of Gambians .
    Please take your time before you respond to any posting otherwise you are showing incoherency and inconsistency .

    • You don’t even understand the essence of my argument above, so how could you possibly respond to it. My point of argument is NOT about the demands being proposed. I think the demands are good and that is why I stated that I wished the opposition (parties & civil society) had the muscle to flex in order to compel the regime submit to the demands.

      My point of argument is that if you don’t have the “power and influence” to force your opponent to meet your demands, putting forth any demands, as a pre-condition to any talks, will amount to idle talk. You either go to the talks and try to get as much as you can, or you simply don’t go to the talks. Making any preconditioned demands, when you are in a “weak” position is naïve. That is the essence of the point I am making.

      If you reflect on what led to the opposition “elections boycott”, you may remember that the opposition asked the IEC to delay elections until certain reforms were carried out or else, they won’t participate. Did the IEC listen ? Of course not…Elections were not only conducted without the opposition, except NRP, but the elected officials served their full terms, without as much as a formal complaint, let alone any serious challenge to the legitimacy of their positions, due to a flawed process.

      How can you make demands on a recalcitrant regime like the APRC and expect them to meet these, if they do not feel threatened by your power to disrupt their grip on the nation ? People need to be serious and stop day dreaming..

      BTW, If you consider the parties involved in this inter-party talks as being in it for their interest alone, do you include the UDP (because they are party to it) or do you exempt them from this charge ? If you exempt the UDP (as I suspect you do), could you give us your reason(s). May be then, my “bipolar” will be cured, Mr phycologist.

      Any conflict resolution process that involves talking to each other, in a disciplined and formal manner, especially when observers from foreign governments or organisations are present, is a DIPLOMATIC PROCESS. That is what happened at the last inter-party meeting, so what is your problem ?

  9. Bax, the whole article about the Inter Party meetings is misleading. The Kaironews is pretending that they do not have the Communique signed by all the parties. Since that is the case, see a copy of the document published by Foroyaa so that on the Interparty Committee communiqué
    Interparty Committee issues communiqué
    The Interparty Committee comprising representatives of registered political parties (both the ruling and opposition parties) yesterday, 21 April 2016 issued a communiqué on their mandates and the current political situation. The communiqué reads as follows:
    Meeting in a climate of mutual understanding and respect, to review the MOU establishing the Interparty Committee in order to ensure its observance, the IEC, UN Resident Coordinator, US Ambassador and the EU Ambassador appearing as observers, representatives of both the ruling party and the political opposition agreed as follows:
    a) That we will reconvene to revitalize and restructure the Interparty Committee to promote peaceful political party activities and the holding of free, fair and genuine elections;
    b) To transform the Interparty Committee into an effective and efficient crisis prevention management and resolution mechanism;
    c) To address the current political tensions by establishing an ad hoc committee of the Interparty Committee which is charged with the responsibility of engaging in dialogue with all the civil and security authorities to address the current political tensions and prevent future ones.
    Done this 20th Day of April 2016.
    It was signed by all political parties including the United Democratic Party. Also the restructuring of the Inter Party Committee started well before Darboe and Co were arrested and it was Darboe and assistant who attended it on behalf of the UDP. So to try and sideline the participation of the UDP in the whole affair is simply dishonest to say the least.
    The Inter Party meetings should in fact continue since it is the only diplomatic avenue available to the country. The UN, EU, AU, ECOWAS and all mature players in the country have applauded it and expressed hope in its restructuring as the best way forward to resolving all crisis relating to elections, including the APRC party and government. So where legal process failed, diplomatic avenue may succeed.
    Bax, if I read any further denial of UDP participation I will endeavor and send the signatures on the Communique for all to see.

    • The inter-party crisis revolve committee, whatever; is a meticulous meddle to exenorate ‘the military in sheep clothing’ junta from its two decades of forced disappearances and atrocities against politically innocent people of a small country and population, one can say.
      The ruling party’s representation in such protocol , in my opinion , if such events will unfold in the future, is their presence whereby they will have to give articulate and tangible answers to their network of lies whose truth are yet to be unravelled by Gambia’s people.

    • Yero Ba, are you implying that inter-party committee was started before Darboe and co were arrested to prevent current crisis ? Tell us what crisis was going on before Darboe and Co were arrested which enabled these politicians to meet and discuss current crisis and its prevention ? To my knowledge there was no single crisis at the time you claimed Darboe attended the meeting . Stop telling lies here . In their communique , was there any thing mentioned about current crisis such as death of solo Sanderg and arrest of UDP members ? No , there was nothing mentioned concerning the arrested peace protesters and solo Sanderg .
      Stop telling misinformation . We all read this communique before this article by kaironews . Majority of the people except pdois hypocrites and confused advisers to Jammeh , were outraged and disgusted by this communique . The timing of communique is the worst and it doesn’t address the current political crisis which you foolishly claimed that it was established to do . Even if we go by your outlandish claim , why is it that they failed to address the current political crisis such as arrested peaceful protesters and death of solo Sanderg ? Why they do not talk about electoral reform and other vital electioneering process which will ensure free and fair election ? In the face of current political crisis , should our political leaders in the oppositions act as referees or should they act as responsible political leaders who are determine to free the country from dictatorship ? They should act as responsible political leaders who are determine to free the country from dictatorship . Pdois , OJ and Ahmat has acted as referee and advisers to the regime in this instance . UDP lawyer Darboe objected to this meeting before his according to above explanation . It was rather the idea of OJ and others . They have used the current crisis as an opportunity to gain their political muscle . Since the signing of this document , did UDP executive were release ? What impact this committee has on current political crisis except it shows weak , clueless , out of touch , naive , selfish and lack of visionary leadership on their part .

  10. It is much more ridiculous in my view to opt for an ‘Aprc government’ instituted ‘independent inquiry’ into the deaths of Ebrima Solo Sandeng and others. Is like watching, ‘the DICTATOR’. Playing the referee and at the same time competing….. Is there anything as sordid?
    It is the people now who are compelled to sport their muscles, in my view point. Nothing was able to compel the Aprc if not their deeds of conspiracies, that they think will perpetuate them in power. Some have said or quoted that, ‘eloquence is not a substitute for truth’, whatever its substitute is…………..
    @Bax I am exactly on about what you on about; trying to make sense out of what folks write with respect to the Gambia’s national discourse.