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DC Frame of Mind?

Ginny writting on her blog is feeling kind of left out in her efforts to get information pertaining to the proposed February 18th demonstration slated to take place at the Gambian mission in New York city.

It is not a slight. Pasamba.. one of the proponents of the said demonstration should be able to help out. The only problem is getting the people in the know that some one out there need more information. Most of them don't read mails from the lists for some time only to delete them after they pile up. Ginny's inquiries could have been a victim of that phenomenon

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After living in exile for almost a decade Bakary Darbo finally came out of the wood work through his attorney to lay claim to properties seize by the late infamous mercenary judge... alighali. I will never support the kind of summary judgements that commissions like alighali's made. They are devoid of fair play and are rendered under a very suppressive political environment without any regards for the rule of law.

However the statement all my country folk ain't my kin folk is true of most first republic politicians living in exile. After plunging our country into the abyss that is yaya jammeh's rule, they have made no effort to help alleviate the suffering of their country men. With the exception of Omar Jallow, most of them have simply vanished. One would hope that they will be a rallying force to end tyranny... but nah Bakary demba just want his properties back.... whilst Saikou Sabally join the Senegalese bourgeoisie. What do you expect? Doctor Jawara started the trend. He went to the Gambia, wine and dine with the dictator, collect inheritance for his kids and we've not heard from him since. It goes to show what a bunch of me, myself and I politicians we had in the first republic.

Where are the buses?

"Barcelona Metropolitan transport is dumping 74 used Pegaso buses on the Gambian tax payer. Yes dumping is the right word. These are vehicles that won't pass emission tests in the western world and will not be allowed to run. With the kind of roads we have in the Gambia, these buses will not last. The environmental degradation that will follow as they go to fallow will be insurmountable.You will assume that our knuckle heads will realise that, but that is asking too much of yaya and his cronies.... the mental midgets parading as leaders."

That was my re-action to this editorial written in november.

Now it look like the buses never made it to the Gambia. Inquiring minds will like to know what happened to the buses? They maybe worthless but the Gambian tax payer is footing the bill. The first consigment was suppose to arrive in December according to Bala Jahumpha

The daily observer should have made a follow up to find out what happened to the buses instead of writting another editorial decrying the worsening public transport situation in the country.

Diasporans and Voting

I don't know what planet this people are living on but if the intent is to extend voting privileges to Gambians living abroad they better get moving. The coalition better start contacting the donor community to facilitate the issue. They can't rely on the prince of gloom (Gabriel Roberts) to make this feasible. Robert's benefactor (Yaya) has nothing to gain by extending such a mandate. The overwhelming majority of diasporan Gambians are opposed to the misrule of the Kanilai dictator. Yaya is brutal and way over his head but he is aware of this fact.

The coalitions efforts need to be multi-faceted. Raising funds, confronting the IEC to avoid voter fraud and engaging the donor community to facilitate free and fair elections. The beauty of a coalition is that you have a pool of talent to draw from. They should take advantage of that. Since to procastinate is to lose some valuable time, the coalition should get on with these issues right away... not tomorrow or the day after...but right now.

Bush's Rhetoric

"Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country." ... bush in his inaugural address .

Spirit lifting indeed for the oppressed peoples of the world ( Gambians no exception ). But Can people in oppressed societies like ours take solace in this statement? Should they? The answer is no. The rhetoric of his speech writers do not match Bush's MO. They should be considered as such. Our societies will only be liberated by home grown freedom fighters. America, some one once said has no permanent friends; just permanent interest.

Which begs the question: what exactly is america's interest in that sliver of land on the west coast of africa called the Gambia? I can't think of any but will be thrilled to know. Our destiny rest in our own hands. It will be foolhardy for any opposition figure to think that in their fight against Yaya Jammeh's tyranny america will come to their rescue. If that is the case they wouldn't let the government of Dawda Jawara collapse while a navy vessel is anchored off the coast of Banjul. They let decades of Gambian democracy fall without lifting a finger. So lets take on our Yaya (to borrow Cherno Baba's phrase ) with the will of david as he did goliath. For he is but our problem, and not America's.

Read the rest of bush's inaugural address here

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ESTABLISHING AN ALLIANCE OF OPPOSITION PARTIES IN THE GAMBIA

PREAMBLE
We, the undersigned representatives of opposition political parties, who seek to establish an alliance, are fully conscious of the duty, that wisdom and honour bestow on us, to explain to the people, from whose consent we must derive the authority to preside over the affairs of the nation and to generations yet unborn, the exceptional circumstances which compelled us to assemble and take these decisions that are here engraved or entrenched in this Memorandum Of Understanding.

Two years following the coup d’etat of July 22nd 1994, The Gambia was supposed to have gone through a transition from an unconstitutional and undemocratic system of government imposed by the AFPRC regime, based on the might of the gun, to a constitutional and democratic system of government, based on the consent of the people under a Second Republic.

Gambians were made to believe that the Second Republic would usher in an era of transparency, accountability and probity. A period of rectification was promised that would put an end to the alleged abuse of office, corruption and other related vices of public office, which negated the welfare of the people.

To achieve these fundamental aims, state administration under the Second Republic should have been characterized by the initiation of constitutional, institutional and administrative reforms and the setting into motion of policies, programmes and democratic practices that would oblige the members of the executive, the legislature, the judiciary and all the other custodians or trustees of public authority to perform their duties in accordance with the dictates of law and the general welfare of the people.

However, it has become evident that after eight years of APRC rule under the Second Republic, the government has not lived up to its promises and has not shown any commitment to enlarge the freedom of the people or ensure their empowerment. On the contrary, it has systematically amended the constitution and enacted laws that concentrate power in the hands of the executive, stifle the authority of the people and legitimise impunity in both matters of governance and economic management.

Constitutional amendments such as the deletion of the elective principle in constituting district and village leadership and the usurpation of such powers by the President and the Secretary of State for Local Government, respectively; the negation of the autonomy of local government bodies through the introduction of intrusive laws that enable the Secretary of State for Local Government to exert undue control over the affairs of local councils in contravention of the principles of decentraliation and devolution of power to local authorities and communities; the assault on the independence and integrity of the Independent Electoral Commission by the removal and replacement of its Chairperson by the President; the frequent shifting and firing of public servants without any legal process; the general militarization of government affairs through the declaration of one operational code after another provide us with ample evidence of the trend towards the centralization of abso! lute power in the hands of the executive.

The abuse of such absolute power is further evidenced by frequent threats to deprive communities of public services because of political affiliation, the arbitrary arrest and detention of persons beyond the constitutional provision of 72 hours set for detention without trial and the unparalleled affront to the independence and impartiality of the judiciary as the president makes repeated claims that he is responsible for the imprisonment of persons convicted by courts.

It goes without saying that maladministration in matters of governance is further compounded by the mismanagement of the economy which has led to the contraction of the productive base, the dwindling of the required investment capacity to generate employment and enhance the income earning capacity of the people, escalation of internal and external borrowing, chronic indebtedness, depreciation of the Dalasi, skyrocketing prices and a perpetual increase in poverty.

Despite all the evidence that the regime is neither capable nor willing to protect and enlarge the rights and freedoms of the citizenry and free them from economic mismanagement and poverty, it has been making systematic effort to perpetuate itself in office beyond the year 2020.

This is corroborated by the failed attempt to abrogate the permanent structures of the IEC because of the stringent requirements imposed by the constitution in case of amendment of entrenched clauses; the repealing of the provision for the second round of voting, should no Presidential candidate receive more than fifty percent of the total number of votes validly cast at an election on the first ballot; the complete monopoly of the state media and the attempt to establish a media commission that could close down media houses on the basis of administrative discretion, which was aborted only because of outcry, both national and international; the refusal to allow Citizen FM to operate because of administrative recalcitrance; the imposition of a bond of half a million dalasi on media houses before being allowed to operate and its retroactive application to close down existing media houses who may not be able to comply; the establishment of draconian laws which impose prison ! sentences of not less than six months with neither an upper limit nor the option of fine for offences such as uttering seditious words, publishing false news, publishing cartoons which are considered to be derogatory; the partisan approach to public administration, the personalization of the public service delivery system and the stifling of the National Council for Civic Education which should have had access to the national television and other public media to provide civic awareness to the people on their constitutional, political and civic rights.

These omissions and transgressions reveal with overwhelming thoroughness that the regime has capitulated to the temptation of perpetuating itself in office, despite all its shortcomings.

In this light, we the undersigned representing our political parties, are obliged to strive for the establishment of an alternative government in order to put an end to self-perpetuating rule, establish proper democratic and constitutional safeguards, implement sound and sustainable economic policies and ensure that patronage, intimidation and inducement shall not stifle the undiluted consent of the people.

Appreciating that no single opposition party can put an end to self-perpetuating rule given the culture of patronage, intimidation and inducement that has already taken root in the political life of the country;

Taking note of the fact that any given party may easily lapse into the vicious cycle of self-perpetuating rule if the proper institutional and administrative safeguards are not put in place to ensure democratic processes and practices;

Recognizing that empowering the Gambian people, to build a durable and sustainable democracy, is the only way to put an end to the self-perpetuating rule of the APRC regime and bar the possibility of the emergence of any government that would perpetuate itself in office in the future;

Conscious of the fact that a sustainable democratic system can best thrive within a multi-party political environment that would enable many parties to have the competence to be credible alternatives to any party in office;

Being fully committed to the values of fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, the dignity of the human person, good governance and democratic culture;
Being fully conscious of the imperative and urgent need to consolidate the aspirations of the Gambian people for greater national unity transcending tribe, religion, gender, place of origin, birth, disability or other status;

Firmly convinced that an alliance transcending ideological and other differences in principle, policies and programmes could augur well for the country by ensuring the adherence to a common code of conduct and thus consolidate a culture of respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, democratic participation, tolerance of diversity that can serve as a launching pad for genuine multi-party electoral contest based on diverse principles, policies programmes and practices;

Acknowledging the fact that commitment to the values of fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, the dignity of the human person, democracy and good governance characterized by transparency, accountability and popular participation shall best prepare The Gambia for African integration and raise the prestige and reputation of the country at the international level;

Drawing our inspiration from our own acknowledgement of these ideals, we the representatives of the political parties here assembled agree as follows:

PART I
Name, Goals and Strategic Objective and Mechanism of the Alliance
1. Establishment of the Alliance
An alliance is hereby established. The name of the alliance is National Alliance for Democracy and Development with the acronym (NADD).
2. Goal
The goal of the alliance is to put an end to self-perpetuating rule, ensure the empowerment of the people so that they can participate in sustainable development.
3. Strategic Objectives
The strategic objectives of the Alliance shall be to:
A. put in place constitutional and legal instruments as well as democratic institutions and practices covering all areas of state administration and management so as to put a definitive end to self-perpetuating rule and ensure the empowerment of the people;
B. pull together resources within the framework of the alliance to contest the forthcoming presidential, National Assembly and Local Government elections;
C. Launch a five year transitional rectification programme in order to ensure an open democratic society based on the promotion of national unity, freedom, peace, prosperity and justice for all;
D. create an economic environment that ensures the development of the productive base, maximize economic growth, employment and general welfare as well as foster African regional integration;
E. promote the ideals, policies and programmes of ECOWAS and other sub-regional groupings in particular and the African Union in general;
F. promote the fullest participation of the people, especially the Gambian women, in development and maximize the benefits derived therefrom;
G. promote the prestige and image of the country internationally by ensuring full respect for the human rights of the citizenry and their democratic participation in running the country in accordance with the ideals enshrined in international human rights law and norms of best practice;
H. develop partnership with civil society organizations to enable them to participate and guide the governance and development priorities of the country;
I. encourage the freedom of information through the creation of laws and practices that would safeguard the independence and impartiality of the public media and the freedom of the non-governmental media to disseminate information without censorship;
J. establish a code of conduct that will put an end to the politics of slander, character assassination, patronage and intimidation and replace it with the politics based on enlightenment, principles, policies and programmes.

4. Composition
A. All opposition parties who are signatories to this memorandum of understanding shall be founding members of the Alliance.
B. Any opposition party that has not been a member of the Alliance may notify the coordinator of its intention to accede to this Memorandum Of Understanding. The coordinator shall, upon receipt of such notification, provide them with an official copy of the Memorandum of Understanding and further transmit the signed copy to the executive committee of the Alliance. The opposition party acquires full membership once the instrument of accession is reviewed and approved by the executive committee and deposited at the Secretariat of the Alliance.

C. All members of the Alliance shall be equally represented in all the organs of the Alliance.

PART II
POLICY MAKING ORGANS
5.The Executive Committee
There shall be an Executive Committee of the Alliance, which shall be the highest decision making organ of the Alliance comprising two members from each member party. One other member shall be selected to serve as an alternate. At least one of the Permanent Members of the Executive Committee or the alternate shall be a woman The Executive Committee shall be responsible for policy making. The Chairperson, Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator of the Alliance shall be ex-officio members of the Executive Committee.
6.The Technical Committee
Policy, Planning, Assessment and Advisory Organ
There shall be a Technical Committee of the Alliance comprising two members and one alternate member appointed by each member party. At least one of the permanent members of the Technical Committee or the alternate shall be a woman. The Technical Committee shall have an advisory role and shall be accountable to the Executive Committee for all its activities.
It shall be responsible for the facilitation of policy formulation, planning, assessment, briefings and recommendations to the Executive Committee. It shall receive periodic assignments from the Executive Committee for review and recommendation on any matter.
7. The Secretariat
Administrative, Information, Education, Communication and Implementation Organ
There shall be a secretariat constituting the administrative and financial organs of the Alliance. It shall be the administrative and implementation organ of the alliance. It shall have an administrative and financial staff managed by a subcommittee comprising the Coordinator and one of the members of the party representatives in the Technical Committee, with the other member serving as alternative. The secretariat shall be housed in the headquarters of the Alliance and shall have branches in the seven administrative areas. The exercise of direction and control over matters relating to staff, budgets, banking, finance, accounting and auditing shall be bound by established rules and procedures drawn up by the Technical Committee and approved by the Executive Committee. It shall implement policies on information, education and communication as proposed by the Technical Committee and approved by the Executive Committee.
The Chairperson shall preside over all meetings of the Executive Committee. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator shall preside. The Chairperson and Coordinator shall perform advisory functions. Neither the Chairperson nor the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator shall have voting powers.

PART III
ELECTIONS AND TENURE OF OFFICE
8. Nomination of Candidate
The selection of the candidate of the Alliance for the presidential, National Assembly and council elections shall be done by consensus; provided that in the event of an impasse selection shall be done by holding a primary election restricted to party delegates on the basis of equal number of delegates, comprising the chairman, chairwoman and youth leader of each party from each village/ward in a constituency.
9. Tenure of Office of Interim President under the Alliance
a) The interim president of the republic under the Alliance shall serve for one five year term of office only. He/she shall vacate his or her seat at the end of his or her term and shall neither seek nor support the candidature of any other person for the ensuing presidential election.
b) A constitutional provision shall be put in place under the Alliance that would limit the number of terms a person can occupy the office of president of the republic to two.

PART IV
PROCEDURES
10. Decision Making
Decision making at all levels of the committees of the Alliance shall be based on the principle of unanimity provided that matters of procedure shall be determined on the basis of simple majority of the delegates present and voting. In the event of the need to break an impasse the delegates may agree unanimously to make a decision by consensus.
11. Quorum
At least one member of each member party shall be present to have a quorum.
12. Authentication
All agreements or decisions shall be authenticated by appending the signatures of all the representatives associated with a given committee of the Alliance. All pages of any agreement of the Alliance shall contain the initials of the signatories to be deemed as authentic. All instruments of the Alliance shall be deposited with the coordinator for safekeeping and proper custody.
13. Dissolution
The Alliance stands dissolved when the majority of its members sign a petition to call for its dissolution and upon the confirmation of the positions of each party at a meeting of the Executive Committee. The disposal of resources shall be the subject of a subsequent protocol to the Memorandum of Understanding.
PART V
TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
14. Every mandate given and decision taken with the authorization of the Executive Committee, prior to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, shall be deemed to be approved as if they were done under this Memorandum Of Understanding.
15. The Alliance shall prepare a Code Of Conduct to guide the political conduct of its member parties and its supporters within one month of the coming into force of this agreement to ensure that slander, intimidation, inducement and appeal to ethnic, religious and other divisive sentiments shall be expunged from the platform of the Alliance.

16. The Alliance shall have an emblem, colour, motto and symbol to be determined within one month of the coming into force of the agreement with the full participation of its supporters and sympathizers.
17. The Memorandum Of Understanding shall come into force upon the appending of signatures by two representatives of each party, one of whom shall be its president/chairperson or secretary general.
18. Upon signature of the Memorandum of Understanding all provisional responsibilities such as the offices of Chairperson and Coordinator ceases and the members of the Executive Committee shall elect the substantive holders of such offices in line with the Memorandum of Understanding.

Done this ……… day of ………………….. in the year ……….

National Democratic Action Movement (NDAM)
National Reconciliation Party (NRP)
People’s Democratic Organisation for
Independence and Socialism (PDOIS)
People’s Progressive Party (PPP)
United Democratic Party (UDP)
Chairperson
Coordinator

Freedom ain't free

“There is no easy road to freedom. We must wake from our slumber. If you want peace and justice, you must be ready to pay the price. And we want to pay that price. Men of conscience have started to speak. This is a message to all Gambians.”…Lamin Waa Juwara at the signing ceremony of NADD’s memorandum of understanding.

Nobody can say it any better. And whatever your politics maybe, one thing that is clear to all observers of Gambian politics for the past decade is that Mbarodi (Lamin Waa Juwara) has standup against Tony Daba’s dictatorship. He has suffered abuse at the hands of goons for speaking his mind. I am not in any shape or form saying he should lead the coalition. What I am alluding to is that he is speaking from the point of view of a man who stand up and pay a price for justice, peace and freedom. We need those qualities now more than ever. It is not going to get any easier from here. That is a word for the wise for the aspirants of coalition leadership. If you are not ready for the abuse that they will throw at you, if you are not ready to stay at mile 2, if you are not ready to lead a civil dis-obedience march (if need be), then do not apply. The situation is too dire for the faint of heart.

A lot of positive statements were made during the ceremony you can read the rest of them here

By the way the comment link is now available for any reader who has another point of view positive or negative to express them.

NADD (National Alliance For Democracy & Development)

Cooler heads are prevailing in the Gambian political climate. The signing today at the Palm Grove Hotel of a memorandum of understanding between opposition parties culminating in the formation of a coalition is a watershed event in Gambian politics. With any luck, the same maturity and diligence will lead to the selection of a coalition bearer to rid the nation of a tyranny that has been going on for ten years too long.

The coalition should have in mind that getting rid of entrenched dictatorships is no cakewalk. In that respect they should choose someone with gusto to lead them. Throwing in the towel before any irregularities are ironed out ala ousainou darbo is not going to cut it. Stepping into the leadership role is a life and death decision. Timid and the faint of heart need not apply. I shall make further comments on this issue as the story unfolds; but at the moment I will like to congratulate the opposition parties for their efforts in taking a step towards eradicating totalitarianism from the Gambia.

Adieu Ndey..

Can the daily observer get any worse? They fired the lady with the sharpie to hire an inexperience old groggy for an editor. I nearly puke while reading this story. Is Mr. Sanyang serious? He is equating his editorial experience with a project newsletter to the daily newspaper of our nation. The brainchild of Doctor Best is going through a metamorphosis uncharacteristic of the founder. It has an un-principled journalist for a managing editor and now to complete the collection you bring in the one time editor of action aid’s project newsletter..."YIRIWA KIBARO”. Great improvement wouldn’t you agree? I am not been sarcastic; I am just distraught.

Plagiarism is becoming the bane of creative writing in the Gambia. From the high school teacher who lift other people’s work to peddle pamphlets to the launching of a guide for Gambian journalist by ‘sheriffo’ himself. One would think that a serious newspaper will do a review of the works been peddled instead of doing sophomoric interviews with the authors. A google search will bring these characters charade to an end.

Come to think of it, Mr. Sanyang’s work is cut out for him. The Observer’s editorials sounds more like the rantings of Fatoumata Jahumpha Ceesay than the sound opinion of a respected newspaper’s editors. Syntax my neck.




Absolute power means abject poverty

2005 Index of Economic Freedom

This index is in de facto a measure of centralized power. If you notice the most economically viable countries are generally those with decentralized power. Their politics and societies are generally free of intimidation. (the U.S. tied at 12th with Switzerland) Those with the most centralized economies and repressive regimes are generally the poorest countries.

Even though the article doesn't make the connection, the really important variable is Power. The more it is checked and held accountable, the better the economy. No surprises here. Power is something that matters across the spectrum of a country: concentrations of Power matter in politics, economics, society, the legal system, education, religion, sports—everything! If Power is minimal, then People prosper and thrive. If Power is concentrated, then People do the bidding of others—not themselves—and they do not prosper. And if Power is concentrated everywhere, we find totalitarianism, which is most simply defined as a political system which tries to control everything, including thought. And in such systems, power not only kills, it impoverishes.

Coalition... is it here?

Ladies and Gentlemen:
The hope for a political solution to the future of our country has begun. The long awaited coalition has become a reality. STGDP was officially notified through our Political Liaison, Maila Touray, that the Memorandum of Understanding - MOU would be officially signed 01/17/04. A new party is borne - National Alliance Democracy and Development (NADD). Congratulation to all the party leaders in the Gambia, and a big thank you to all Gambians living in the Diaspora, especially to the Gambia- l, Gambia Post and Gambia-Talk.Together we will all contribute in a positive, responsible and constructive way to the future of our country. There is hope, and together we will get it done.

This message was posted on the interactive mail site Gambia-Talk by Musa Jeng. I have no way of verifying the validity of it. However both Maila Touray and Musa Jeng are standup guys. It is a promising start for a long journey.

No Armstrong left behind

You've most likely heard or read about this by now, but it's really quite extraordinary: the White House is literally paying Armstrong Williams to parrot the party line on the No Child Left Behind Act to the black community. Which immediately brings to mind the question: what other right wing talk hosts are collecting taxpayer funds? Inquiring minds would really like to know.

Not so Quaint

When Alberto Gonzales made recommendations on torture in 2002 that ignored established U.S. military policy, some former military leaders took notice. Recognizing that trivializing the Geneva Conventions isn't just bad PR, but also bad for our soldiers abroad, these retired officers have come together to express grave doubts about the attorney general nominee and to demand to know where he stands on enforcing both U.S. and international law. This letter was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee as it prepares to begin hearings on Gonzales' nomination. READ THE LETTER... courtesy of tompaine.

To read the letter you need acrobat reader. A free reader can be downloaded from adobe.com

Say it ain't so

“President Jammeh said the government security personnel alone are not in possession of arms; that there are armed criminals harbored by Gambians in their homes and communities”.

In the next breathe our idiotic dictator lamented:

“If any criminal commits wrong in another country and thinks that they can be harbored here, that cannot be possible...we are a small country but don’t underrate us,”

So what is it Yaya? Are Gambians in cohorts with armed criminal/terrorist killing fine folks like Deyda as you suggested in the first quote or are they law abiding citizens who will not harbor terrorist per your second statement?

These two contradictory statements gives you a glimpse into the mental aptitude of the man keeping Gambians hostage. In the midst of the outrage that followed the murder of Deyda, he tried to absolve his regime by accusing the population of harboring the killers. However this brought out another problem… the inability of his government to provide basic security to the citizenry… thus the turnaround and self indulged macho statement “we are a small country but don’t underrate us”. Who is he referring to folks? Those this guy thinks before making absurd statements? Oops … I forgot that he is a dictator. And as such public opinion doesn’t mean zilch to him.
Read the full observer interview here.

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