Free the Ladies NOW

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.


Their arrest is a smokescreen on the larger socio-political dynamic taking root in the Gambia. The imprisonment without due process is the norm in Yahya Jammeh's Gambia. They have become the latest victims to this madness that has engulf our nation since July 1994. Our people cower in fear while their fellow citizens are brutally subjected to in humane treatments. Nations deserve their leaders and the Gambia is no exception. Gambians are not bystanders in this tragedy, they are active participants, aiding, abating and yes meting out inhumane treatments to prop up a dictatorship.

The comedy of tragedy extends to the religious leadership as well. In civil and human rights crusades around the world, religious leaders take an active role in freeing oppressed masses. From the abolitionist movement to the civil rights struggle in the United States, religious leaders have been at the forefront. The Gambia's religious leaders have failed tragically in this arena. The Supreme Islamic Council have very recently dictate that a fellow imam refrain from preaching to the flock; because, well he is hurting their little feelings. Our Christian brethren, though not involve in any out right censorship that I know of, are missing in the fight against the infringement of rights that is a daily occurrence in their immediacy.

Yahya is who he is because Gambians have become fearful of their own shadows. A lot of Gambians aid this buffoon's ego trip and hurt a lot of innocent people along the way. The larger population has a cynical world view. It is never about them until one of their relatives is picked up and mistreated. The adage "injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere" has never been a mantle in our society. It is these two ladies today, it will be somebody's brother tomorrow, until we shed the fear and confront the cancer before it metastasized to a terminal stage. Then all bets are off.

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Pragmatism

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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