NADD Press Release

The Executive Committee of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development on Sunday 26 February 2006 met to discuss the status of NADD in relation to two parties, that is, UDP and NRP and the selection of a flag bearer. The two parties indicated that they are still members of NADD.

The other members emphasized that parties which are members of NADD should not continue to maintain a parallel alliance or organize party activities that contravene NADD’s MOU and Code of Conduct; that those who intend to do so should renegotiate their relation with NADD. On the issue of flag bearer Mr. Omar Jallow gave a passionate speech to withdraw his name from the list of prospective candidates for the sake of unity.

Mr. Waa Juwara then announced the decision of his original party (NDAM) to select him to be considered as a candidate. Two names are now left on the list for selection. The subcommittee constituted to do the selection will meet in the middle of the week to do a final selection. The Executive Committee members have unanimously agreed for the selection to go ahead regardless of the absence of any member. The persons whose names appear on the list have declared to accept the verdict of the committee.

Mr. Omar Jallow was proposed to be the chairman of the selection committee by one of the prospective candidates. The other prospective candidate declared that Omar Jallow’s decision needs to be emulated, that if any proposal is made by him of a candidate who can maintain NADD’s unity and integrity outside of those whose names have been proposed before, it should be considered by the Executive Committee out of respect for his decision.The debates were conducted in a respectable atmosphere. The Executive Committee resolved to select a flag bearer by the time the NADD Militant Forum holds its rally in Brikama on Saturday 4 March 2006.

My take:

NADD is becoming a survivor of sorts. Call me a hopeless optimist but I believe this thing is been salvage right under our nose. The leaders are working out their differences while the prophets of doom and gloom get drawn into what Dr. King called the "paralysis of analysis" on online forums.

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D-Day for NADD

The controversy as to whether the opposition National Alliance for Democracy and Development NADD has finally split or not will be decided at an executive meeting to be held on Sunday.

According to a highly placed source, Sunday's meeting is a very important one, because it is out of this meeting that the leadership will make final decisions concerning various issues on the current political impasse apparently road-blocking the Alliance.

The meeting which is expected to be attended by the UDP leadership will according to our sources discuss at length, issues affecting the leadership especially as they relate to the forthcoming elections and to future administrative and political arrangements. It is very possible that we will come out with a final decision so that we can all set to work, our source posited. It would be recalled that the leader of the United Democratic party, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, told journalists a fortnight ago that he had broken ranks with the alliance for what he termed distrust among them. The UDP has since formed a new alliance with Hamat Bahs National Reconciliation Party (NRP) in line with their immediate and long-term political goals.

It would also be recalled that the NADD Coordinator, Mr Halifa Sallah, had indicated that the NADD was intact despite rumours to the contrary. Meanwhile the programmed meeting of the UDP/NRP alliance is expected to hold at Sinchu Alhaji Village tomorrow. ... the Point


These are tumultuous times for the Gambian opposition. The fault lines in NADD have been exposed and the subsequent withdrawal of messrs Darbo and Bah isn't helping matters. Hindsight is twenty-twenty and with that in mind critics can say that NADD was destined for this eventuality. NADD come to think of it, is based on a policy of hope. We hope that by coming together and opposing the dictator, we stand a better chance of defeating him, we hope that the leaders of the various opposition parties will leave their ambitions, egos and petty jealousies at the door for the good of the nation, we hope that this is in fact what was happening behind the scenes, we hope until this month when it dawn on most of us that 'the audacity of hope' (as Barack Obama alluded to in his democratic convention speech of 2004) is what the Gambian opposition is clinging on.

So what do we do? For starters, we should be realist. We ought to realize that NADD without its two large constituent parties stood little or no chance of deposing Yahya no matter how noble their programs are. Gambians don't vote on issues, they vote for personalities. This is the ugly truth. The UDP/NRP coalition could get as much as 35% of the electorate easy, but defeating Yahya ain't happening that way either. The only viable solution is to shoot for a party led coalition whereby the smaller parties that presently constitute NADD will put their weight behind the UDP/NRP alliance. Do I see that happening? No, if you judge by the vitriol taking place on Gambian forums. But that is expected and frankly it doesn't matter either. The decisions are made on the ground and these decision makers are very smart and politically astute to gauge the cliff they are heading for if everyone took an obtuse stance.

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Picture is worth a...?

This is Yahya Jammeh's idea of political reconciliation...Parading an old man who has very little or no political influence whatsoever. True there are Jawara loyalist out there, but a decade after he was ousted from power, his influence has waned to virtually non-existence. This is a classic case of elderly abuse.


But come to think of it, love him or hate him, Yahya Jammeh is getting pretty good at politics. While his purported opponents are fighting amongst themselves...seemingly unable to agree on a leader, he is parading the 80 something year old ex president in a charade that made him look like a uniter and not the abysmal and incompetent person he is.


A picture, they say is worth a thousand words. You've got to feel for Dr. Jawara looking at that photo. It should be a lesson for Yahya. History is at his arms length and he should be the wiser for it. A decade ago Dr. Jawara was in charge and today or on the day that photo was taken, he was just a caricature of a has been. God works in mysterious ways.

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Gambia @ 41

1965 Independence event ...Photo Courtesy of fatoumaria

It is 41years today since the Gambia attained independence from British colonial rule. Throughout the years she has seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of her children. From the corrupt three decade rule of Fafa Jawara to the corrupt and dictatorial tyranny of Yahya Jammeh. But I will reserve my seething outrage for another day. Today, we celebrate with you dear old Gambia. And here is an anthem composed to celebrate what you can be and will be in the not too distant future.

Gambia National Anthem

The Gambian community in Michigan is holding a fundraising dinner for the occasion. The proceeds will be use to transport medical supplies to the Gambia. Click here to read the program of events

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The Fragmented Oppposition.

With the apparent withdrawal of two of its constituent parties, the national alliance for democracy and development seems to find itself at a critical crossroads. The implications of the UDP/NRP withdrawal cannot be lost on the remaining parties. Suffice to say they are the two largest opposition parties that constitute NADD and their apparent departure leaves behind two parties that have never contested any national elections on their own in the second republic and one solid party with well not a large support base.

So where does that leave NADD as an entity? Opinions vary and emotions are high on Gambian forums. Some fervent NADD supporters are interjecting tribe and tribalism into the mix. It is an ugly proposition to think that some of us are so desperate and devoid of solution that we will bring tribal sentiments into the midst of a political quarrel without any tangible evidence. Granted, numerous individuals to set up NADD spend a lot of time and energy and their frustration with the turn of events is understandable. However, the situation today calls for deal making and cajoling than casting blame.

Needless to say, the UDP/NRP coalition is a force to reckon with in Gambian politics. The 1996 and 2001 presidential elections results support this fact. You can view the results here. This doesn’t negate the fact that a united opposition would have been the ideal tool to confront the APRC juggernaut.

Tempers are short and frustrations abound, but we cannot and must not trample on the rights of individuals and their constituents parties to withdraw from a political alliance when they feel such an alliance doesn’t serve the interest of their supporters. Democracy is messy and this is one of those undesirables that we have to tolerate in building a democratic society….the right of individuals and parties to disagree and desert a group they don’t desire to be a part of. In the fight against a dictatorship, we may bemoan the splintering of unity, but we should never lose sight of the right to association.

Calling some one a traitor, a tribalist or what ever name some commentators are using on Gambian forums to describe Ousainou Darbo is not helpful. The die has been cast. Messrs Darbo and Bah decided to leave NADD and form an alliance and that is their right. I may not agree with it but I will defend their right to association. The notion that the end justifies the means, even if the process is flawed is not good enough. NADD supporters should regroup and strategize rather than spew venom on people who left the coalition. The fact that this is not happening, but rather a slugfest is taking place on line about the tribal component of certain parties says a lot about the weight of the two departed parties and how it leaves NADD as an empty shell. We can gloss over it all we want but the realties on the ground (and that’s what matters) doesn’t bode well for NADD without UDP/NRP. They constitute most of NADD’s support base where it actually matters …the electorate.

Gambians in the diaspora disappointed at the turn of events need to put on a different hat and think of ways to get the fragmented opposition to work together. The old setup is gone and dwelling on it is not going to help matters. We have to constructively come to terms with the fact that a new setup/alliance is needed before October. We can argue forever who is at fault and there are plenty of people to blame, but at the end of the day the biggest threat to our nation is Yahya Jammeh. Lest we forget.

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UDP breaks away from NADD

BANJUL- Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of United Democratic Party (UDP), has today declared his resignation from newly formed opposition coalition, National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) amidst charges of lack of cohesion among the executives. In a press conference today, our source revealed that an optimistic lawyer Darboe confidently declared his resignation from NADD to members of the press.

A well-organized UDP rally according to our source is planned to take place in opposition strong hold of Brikama, in the following days or week to come...Allgambian reports

I will not comment on this development until I have a sense of the events that transpired leading to this breakup. However I believe it is safe to say that it doesn't bode well for the chances of the opposition in toppling Yahya unless a viable coalition could be form out of the ruins of NADD.

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Gambian Association of Michigan…By Law doesn’t help your case.

“The Gambian Association of Michigan is a non-political body,
which shall not endorsed any political party.”

The statement quoted above is the one liner that executives of the Gambian association of Michigan bandied around every time they are confronted about their penchance to censor speech they don’t agree with. It is true that the said sentence is part of the by laws of the association.

However, what they failed to understand is that the sentence is self-explanatory. It simply reminds folks that the association as an entity is apolitical. What it doesn’t say is that members of the association are bound to be apolitical. Therefore they reserved the right to freedom of speech and political affiliation.

Scrutinizing the role of government vis-à-vis…the rule of law, its application judiciously or lack thereof, taking the government to task for failing in their most fundamental duties (the provision of security for it’s citizenry) as Cherno Baba did on the pages of Michi Gambia do not fall under the endorsement of a political party. He was doing what any good citizen with his gift (the ability to write eloquently) should do. Having written critically of the First republic and the current government, I trust that Cherno Baba will do the same in the event that any future government tramples on the rights of the citizenry or fail in their duties...to secure the lives and liberties of the governed. That my friends is not political endorsement, but accountability.

Another point that makes reference to this by laws bogus is the after the fact nature of the executives reaction. The executives knew about this flimsy provision in the by laws when they carved up a spot on the website for Cherno Baba to opined. They knew his writing style and pedigree and now they want us to believe that his opinions on the running of a country we all call home tantamount to endorsing opposition politics no matter how substantive and truthful the issues are that he is opining on in his columns.

The last week has taught me a great deal about the executives of the association. They take opinions critical of them personally and act accordingly irrespective of the consequence. They are not the most humble bunch and they tend to think they are not in need of much outside input or advice. But some have been more receptive than others, and there is a (gradually) growing recognition of the value of the blogosphere, not just in terms of its passion and numbers but also the level of substance and seriousness with which debate and analysis occurs here.

Restricting my ability to post on Michi Gambia mailing list will be detrimental if I don’t have other avenues to express my outrage. But thanks to the blogosphere and other Gambian electronic media, such as allgambian and Gambia post, hundreds of our compatriots all over the world have read and form their own opinion on the absurdity of the stance taken by the executive of Michigan Gambian association.

I bear no ill feelings against the association as an entity and will defend it against any ill begotten negative campaign. However the executive will be well served by taking to heed Voltaire’s comment that: “It is not enough to conquer; one must also know how to seduce”.

Update 2-8-2006
The executive decision to restrict me from posting to Michi Gambia mailing list has been lifted . I think it is fair that my readers be updated on this development. No quid pro quo is involved. I will continue to opine on issues I care about and will not hesistate for a second to let the executive know how I feel about any decision and/or action they took that I don't agree with.

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Gambian Association of Michigan...No Dissent allowed here.

The following comment was posted on the Allgambian.net forum.

Subject: The Gambia Michigan Association an agency of the APRC?
Name: Salieu Jeng
Date Posted: Jan 23, 06 - 5:27 PM
Message:

I wish to express my utter frustration at the Gambian Michigan Association's decision to pull out an article written by a young journalist because a member of the organisation found it politically offensive. The article was written by Cherno Baba Jallow and it was critical of Yayah Jammeh and his goverment. It was reported that the episode first started when a senior goverment official who was scheduled to visit the members in Detroit decided to cancel at the last minute because of what he called an anti Yayah article on the organisation's web site. The web manager decided to pull out the article and said no more articles of that nature will be published in the future. You may recall that Cherno Baba Jallow was young reporter who was arrested many times, detained and tortured by that same Jammeh government because of thetruth he revealed to his readership. Mr. Jallow had to desert his home country because he could not continue to endure the political persecution inflicted on him by a brutal dictator. He thought he found a sanctuary in America to continue to express his political views,again Jammeh managed to use the organization as an agency to censor Mr Jallow's views. This is political naivity at its best. Are the executive members trying to milk the Jammeh cash cow by allowing Jammeh to dictate what goes on in their own web site. In fact i have been informed that the organization is trying to raise funds to send medical supplies to the Gambia. This could be a politically charged gesture meant to benefit just a few at the expense many.I have personally been trying to reach mr Jallow but to no avail. This is a total disgrace.

I was not subscribed to the mailing list of the Gambian association of Michigan at the time I read this post. I sent it to my friend to have him forward it to the mailing list. My only motivation was to make the community aware of the situation.

However, instead of addressing the substance of the allegation, one of the members insinuated that my friend and I have something to do with the initial posting. When we reacted to her insinuation, the vice president of the association tried to make us look like nuisance…you know the party spoiler kind. She made it clear that her comment was supposed to be the last one on the issue. Well not if I have something to do with it.

Let me hasten to say that I disagree with Salieu Jjeng’s point that the Gambian Association of Michigan (GAM) is an agency of the APRC. However, judging by the circumstances that led to my own restriction from posting anything on the association’s mailing list, I will venture to say that elements within the executive are allergic and intolerant of opposing views.

Below is the message I received when I tried to send something to the list. Bear in mind that this is after I posted two messages to the list correcting the misrepresentation attributed to me and my friend by a member and taking offense at the vice president of the association's portrayal of our grievances as petty squabbles.

We are unable to deliver the message from moribolong@yahoo.com to Gambians MI@yahoogroups.com

You are not allowed to send email to this group. There are two possible
reasons for this:

1. This group may only accept postings from moderators.
2. The moderator of this group may have removed your ability to post to
this group.

To contact the group moderator, send mail to Gambians-MI-owner@yahoogroups.com



This is nothing more than a naked attempt to stifle dissent and to create a criticism-free bubble around themselves. Apparently the only ideas allowed to be expressed on MichiGambia mailing list are ones, which glorify the leadership. Dissenting views are prohibited and will subject someone to restrictions or as the secretary of the association who happens to be one of the moderators boasted ...de-listment. Message cleansing of that sort belongs at a political rally in Kanilai, not on a community mailing list.

Censuring opinion because you don’t agree with it is unhealthy and disgusting. Michi Gambia executives are not entitled to reverence and worship. They should not want or expect that either. Criticism, dissent and divergence of opinion are principles they should foster. The idea that they will restrict or delist someone for espousing a view contrary to their own is disgraceful.

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