Committee of Concerned Gambian Citizens Launches Opposition Coalition Forum

by editor | March 20, 2016 2:53 pm

Dear Compatriots:

I have the honour and pleasure to inform0 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.

COMMITTEE OF CONCERNED GAMBIAN CITIZENS FOR CHANGE:

Kotu West

Kanifing Municipality

The Gambia

09 March 2016

Mr. Ousainou N. Darboe

Secretary General

United Democratic Party (UDP)

Banjul

Hon. Omar A. Jallow

Secretary General

People’s Progressive Party (PPP)

Kairaba Avenue

Serrekunda

Hon. Halifa Sallah

Secretary General

People’s Democratic Organization

for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS)

Serrekunda

Hon. Ahmat Bah

Secretary General

National Reconciliation Party (NRP)

Westfield, Serrekunda

Hon. Lamin Waa Jwara

Secretary General

National Democratic Action Movement

Brikama Nema

Mai Ahmad Fatty

Secretary General

Gambia Moral Congress (GMC)

Faji Kunda

Hon. Henry Gomez

Secretary General

Gambia Party for Democracy

& Progress (GPDP)

Faji Kunda

Mr. Mama Kandeh

Secretary General

Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC)

Nema Kunku

Mr. Majanko Samusa

Secretary General

National Convention Party (NCP)

Faji kunda

Hon. Buba Aye Sanneh

Independent Candidate

& National Assembly Member

Brikama, Western Region

Hon. Muhammed Magassy

Independent Candidate/ Basse

& National Assembly Member

Brikama Near NAWEC Plant

Western Region

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 [i]monetary 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

(IEC).

  1. 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.
  2. demilitarize campaigns to ensure level playing field for the electoral process.
  3. end deliberate delays and/or refusal to issue permits for campaigns and rallies.
  4. guarantee free access to the media and public meeting facilities.
  5. end human right abuses: extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detentions and incarceration of political

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

Coordinator

National Concerned Citizens’ Committee

 Copies:

Gambian Online Media Outlets

H.E Ban Ki-Moon

Secretary General

UN Secretariat

New York, U.S.A

Madam Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje

UN Resident Representative

Kofi Annan Drive

Cape Point

H.E Macky Sall

Chairman

ECOWAS

Dakar, Senegal

Madam Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Chair

African Union (AU)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

H.E Carolyn Patricia Alsup

Ambassador

US Embassy

Kairaba Avenue

E. Colin Crorkin

Ambassador

British Embassy

Atlantic Road

Fajara

H.E. Senegalese Ambassador

Behind Pipe Line Mosque

Serrekunda

Professor Abdoulaye Saine

Chairman

CORDEG

U.S.A

Mr. Abdoulie Janneh

Executive Director

Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Dakar, Senegal

Mr. Ousainou Mbenga

Chairman

Democratic Union of Gambians

Activists (DUGA)

Washington DC, U.S.A

Dr. Amadou S. Janneh

Chairman

Gambia Coalition For Change

U.S.A

Hon. Majanko Samusa

Chairman

National Youth Committee for Reunification

Of Opposition Political Parties

3, Kairaba Avenue, Serrekunda

Mr. Omar Bah

Chairman

Gambia Youth for Unity

  1. S. A

Mr. Jeggan Grey- Johnson

Advocacy Officer

Africa/Open Society Foundations

Pretoria, South Africa

Mr. Jeffrey Smith

Advocacy Officer

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation

Washington DC, U.S.A

Mr. Seydi Gassama

Regional Director

Amnesty International

Dakar, Senegal

Ms. Corinne Dufka

Associate Director

Human  Rights Watch

Dakar, Senegal

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