The photo above is that of Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho: two honorable ladies, who made a career of fighting for women's right in a male dominated society. They have until a few days ago been engaging their countrymen to to put a stop to some harmful practices undertaken in that society such female circumcision. Along the way, they have gather some powerful enemies, but they persevere. That is until they were arrested and detained at the Gambia's notorious mile two prisons on trumped theft charges.
This blog post is made in response to a posting made on Bantaba by Demba Baldeh ...Link
History, they say is prologue. But that doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't learn from it to make adjustments for the better. Opposition supporters have come to terms that a united front is our best shot at competing in any meaningful way against an entrenched dictatorship. What seems to be the sticking point is the modalities needed to bring about such a unity. To come up with the modalities requires acknowledging the differences that bridge the parties. To this end,the points Demba enumerated are germane to the discussion. They are the most thorny issues in this unity quest. We keep mouthing off about unity, but when confronted with the mechanism to achieving such a feat, we get cold feet and withdraw into our corners.
It is my opinion that the parties should form an alliance lead by the largest opposition party with the following understanding between the parties:
1. Formation of a coalition government lasting five years
2. Electoral and constitutional reform during the coalition governments' term
3. Parties to the alliance maintain their identity and freedom to organize during the term of the coalition
4. Members of the coalition government will not contest subsequent presidential elections
5. Coalition government members can endorse candidates for subsequent presidential elections (free speech and association).
6. Mobilize mass public campaigns to educate the population in their rights and duties as citizens (parties can do this as well).
These are some of the things that could help bridge the gap. I submit that the parties have smarter people in charge of their affairs than yours truly. Furthermore, I am not breaking any new grounds here. I have heard variances of these points made by numerous people. Pragmatism dictates that we give up something to gain some.The Gambia needs her opposition children to be pragmatic for her sake.
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