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I have been busy trying to get a project up and running. The corporate masters have been cracking the whip to get this thingy up and humming. Thus the lull in postings. Needless to say I am behind in current events, email boxes flowing with mail to read and so little time.

The Daily Observer ( here and here) has a run down of confessionals that the "alleged" coup plotters in the Gambia made. Yep thats right "alleged". For all we know these people could've been tortured or threaten with torture to make those statements. Their confessionals in my opinion lend credence to my suspicion. All roads in this convoluted affair leads to Ndure Cham. Everyone keep harking back to what he told them. And since he is not around to refute them and the government is hellbent on punishing someone, they parade these people on television to narrate some scheme that they were supposedly part of.

Which brings me to another peeve of mine with this whole alleged coup. Why is the government putting these alleged coup plotters on television and televising their confessional before they appear in front of a judge? Doesn't that act undermines their due process rights? If you made some one to confess to a crime by threats either implicit or explicit without judicial over sight, isn't that in effect a violation of the law? Damn I forgot. For a minute I thought we are dealing with a government that respect the rule of law.

Talking of torture, I guess I wasn't hallucinating after all. Reading through some of my mail before posting this meme, I came across this article in the Foroyaa newspaper:

The family members reported that the arresting team mainly composed of State Guards and Police Intervention Unit personnel who dehumanized the arrestees.

According to Captain Yaya Darboe's family members, he was later put in chains and beaten before being carried away. Lai Conteh's neighbours said the nature of his arrest was inhumane in that he was tied before being carried away. Mr. Kemo Balajo's wife, who is said to be about eight months pregnant, was said to have had a confrontation with the arresting team when they started searching Balajo's house, looking for his military uniforms. The members of the NIA normally wear military fatigues during such operations. Mr. Balajo's wife could not bear the ransacking of their house. She is said to have rushed in and come out with the military uniforms and threw them at the officers.

RSM Alpha Bah is said to have been brutally manhandled. Sources said he was tied and thrown inside a black American car. The two military police commanders were also reported to have been handcuffed and carried away. Daba Marenah's family said he was arrested on Tuesday night at his home by the soldiers. Lamin Kassama, a security at the Civil Aviation Authority was said to have been arrested at his home in Brikama Nema where he was handcuffed and put in a military pickup on Wednesday morning. Captain Bunja Darboe was said to be found in his house in Fajara while taking his breakfast. He is said to have been handcuffed while the family members and neighbours stood staring at the scene.
This goes to show their state of mind when they made those confessionals. They have been beaten and threaten with further violence unless they confess to treason. These men are not dummies. If they are part of a coup plot that failed, why in the world will they be languishing in the Gambia just so they could be arrested. They would have split and run for the border into Senegal. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. But what else do you expect in a dictatorship?

The authorities in the West African state of Gambia have arrested a number of army officers suspected of plotting to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh. Reports say several other officers, including the army chief of staff, Ndure Cham, have fled The Gambia.

President Jammeh cut short a visit to Mauritania and returned home late on Tuesday evening. The capital, Banjul, is reported to be calm, with security forces deployed on the streets. Journalists reported troop movements in the early hours of the morning. President Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup and won a second term in 2001. He seeks re-election this year.

There have been a number of high-profile army sackings in the past year or so. Late last year, Gambian police arrested three leading opposition figures in what the government said was part of a probe into a national security threat. ... BBC News

Grapevine has it that Captain Peter Singhateh ( The guy who alledgly murdered Ousman Koro Ceesay) is amongst those arrested. I have no independent way of knowing or verifying what is going on in the Gambia. But my gut feeling is that this is another one of those wag the dog scenarios. The economy is tanking and the opposition is reving up its attacks on the inepitude of the government. What do a dictator do? Round up a few soldiers and accusse them of planning a coup. It is not like this is the first time that has happen since this mad man took over our once peaceful country.

Update:

Peter Singhateh has been promoted to deputy chief of staff according to information relayed on Radio Gambia. So the initial rumor of his (Peter's) arrest was just that...a rumor.

The ambitious project that is Nadd is withering under our very eyes. There is a realignment taking place in opposition politics in the Gambia. Nadd has become a shell of what it was supposed to be. The latest deserter of the Nadd camp is the PPP:


Mr Yaya Ceesay, chairman of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), has stated categorically clear that the PPP is no more part and parcel of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD). The veteran politician, who walked into our offices yesterday morning to ‘set records straight’ following our Monday lead story on PPP where Omar Jallow was quoted as denying the withdrawal of PPP from NADD, said that the PPP withdrew from NADD on 3 March. “The decision was reached at after majority of us voted in favour of the withdrawal of the PPP from NADD,” he explained, adding “Now we are planning to meet the UDP/ NRP alliance with a view to discuss with them the possibility of joining their camp.”...entire story

This latest development makes the utterances of Lamin Waa Juwara untenable. Case in point the speech he gave at a Sukuta rally:


“I’m older than Darboe. I’m more experienced in politics than Darboe, please extend my message to him that I said let him come back to NADD as his actions can only help Jammeh in achieving his goal. Darboe should know that Gambia is his only pride and not the presidency. Please tell him I said if he still need power let him come and lead NADD because none of us is interested in power,but all we want to see if a free democratic Gambia” Mbarodi challenges Darboe, as he accuses him of being power hungry.

Waa is comical if the stakes are not so high. What Waa refused to understand is that there is no incentive for Darbo to come back to NADD when parties and personalities are leaving nadd to join his UDP/NRP alliance. Nadd today constitutes mainly of PDOIS. NDAM...Juwara's party is a nonenity in a broader political sense. They've never contested a single election in the history of that nation. Their support base is miniscule and borderlining on non-existence. That is not an enviable bargaining position and it sure as hell is not a bullying platform.

Another thing that bugs me is his obsession with Ousainou Darbo. He turn NADD's rallies into a darbo bashing fest. While Halifa Sallah challenge the government on its failed policies, Waa is calling Ousainou power hungry. Yeah that sure will work. Ousainou will be scared straight and come running back to NADD. You don't constantly malign people and in the next breath urge them to join you. What kind of rational is that? Experienced politician my neck.

It is time for people working to see an end to Yaya Jammeh's tyranny to wake up and smell the coffee. NADD is a failed project and sticking to it obtusely will derail any chance we have at toppling APRC. Politics is a blood sport. NADD has been bloodied and there is not a lot of fight left in this dog. The UDP/NRP alliance has the support base to start with. It will be prudent to allign the rest of the opposition elements with this alliance, put in place modalities for governance and stop this madness. Alternatively the camps can stake their positions, refuse the rational thing. Consequently, we could kiss the october elections goodbye and say hello to five more years of Yaya's tyranny.

Click on Picture to watch the Video. Courtesy Crooks and liar

Is life-imitating art or is art-imitating life in this video clip from Boston Legal? Somebody please help me here.

Although this is a TV show (Fiction if you may), the inherent message it conveys in my opinion is that the American public has the memory of a goldfish. After about 3 seconds everything is wiped clear--like a goldfish bonking into the glass of the aquarium, over and over again, never remembering that that has been tried before.

The list of un-American, immoral and illegal acts perpetrated by George bush is staggering and even those of us who live, eat and breath politics might forget just how long the list of transgressions are. So, everyday this needs to be repeated, until it starts to dawn on people that our democracy is in true danger under this totalitarian-leaning administration.

Now compare that with the treatment Senator Feingold got from CNN's Soledad O'Brien(video Here) for having the balls in proposing a resolution to censure George Bush. It is so sad that a TV show with fictional characters is more to the point on matters of individual and collective liberty than 90% of all journalists in this country.

Since the withdrawal of UDP and NRP from NADD, the dynamics of opposition politics have changed. While the UDP/NRP alliance forge ahead with a semi campaign by organizing rallies around the greater Banjul area and attacking the record of Yahya Jammeh and his APRC cohorts, NADD through the utterances of Lamin Waa Juwara has become obsessed with it’s erstwhile members. Case in point is the following story that appears in the point newspaper about a rally held by the UDP/NRP alliance:

“Days of APRC Numbered”
Monday 13th March 2006

By Abba A.S Gibba, A Nyockeh & A. Njie

NRP’s Hamat Bah has told a political gathering in Serekunda Central that the days of the APRC are numbered. He added that the writings are on the wall that come October, President Jammeh would be democratically dislodged to give way to what he called a human-centred government.

Bah lamented that considering the size of Serekunda and its population as well as capacity to generate revenue, the town should not be left without streetlights, suitable cemeteries, consistent water supply, garage among many other woes. He said the APRC administration is a failed system, urging the electorate of Serekunda Central to deny Jammeh and his party their votes for a better Gambia for all.

He accused Jammeh of wastefully spending the state resources at the detriment of the Gambian people.

Meanwhile, also addressing a rally in Brufut, Bah called on Jammeh to recall other officials of the deposed PPP administration to national duty. To Bah, this was overdue as in his own words Jammeh and his government are in dire need of salvation.

He acknowleged that it was good and equally timely that Jammeh appointed Lamin Kiti Jabang ‘because Jabang was experienced and effective’. Bah said there exist lots of Kiti Jabang’s calibre who the president should not be ashamed of recalling to active national duty.


Compare that with the utterances of Mr. Juwara at a NADD rally as reported by point:

As politicians Warm-up for 2006 Elections
Juwara Lambasts UDP
Monday 13th March 2006

By Alhagie Mbye

As political titans in the country start stretching their muscles in the build-up to the forthcoming presidential elections, a firebrand politician cum executive member of NADD has lambasted the United Democratic Party (UDP) for pulling out of NADD, saying that the reason advanced by the UDP leader was frivolous and baseless.

Lamin Waa Juwara told supporters at a rally recently held in Brikama that there was no mistrust within NADD members.“ Why would the UDP jump out from the alliance on the grounds that there was mistrust within NADD members? That is not true and can never be true,” the NDAM leader fumed.

“ There is no element of mistrust within NADD. Even if there was such mistrust, in my view it does not warrant pulling out single-handedly.”

The Niamina Dankunku ex-parliamentarian in the deposed PPP regime therefore expressed the need for Ousainou Darboe to return to NADD, saying: “ Those asking him to quit are enemies to him and NADD’s cause.”

For the seasoned opposition politician, the purpose of forming an alliance is to effect a change of government in the forthcoming presidential elections.

Mr Juwara stated: “ We affirm our commitment to this cause, and if that pledge is made, could someone think of being a renegade at such crucial points just for the mere seeking of position? Politics is more than a mere pursuing of personal interest at the expense of the whole nation. On the contrary, it is the pursuit of collective interest at the expense of personal interests.”

“NADD’s cause is a national cause,” Juwara told supporters at the rally.
That the UDP holds the majority in the country is unrealistic, said Mr Juwara, arguing that if the UDP holds a majority they would have booted out the Jammeh administration in the past presidential elections.
One would think that if the common opponent is APRC, Juwara will be well served criticizing their record than obsessing with what the other opposition alliance is up to. The UDP is not the party in power. The APRC is the party that is running the Gambia into the ground.

Juwara of all people should understand that the fight to take back the Gambia is a long-term goal. There will be many defeats. Getting sultry and vindictive every time some one broke ranks isn’t going to cut it. Taking potshots at the UDP every opportunity he had is not going to help in any future reconcilliation efforts.

Censure Bush

Like all Americans, I woke up on the morning of September 11th, 2001 as though it was simply another day. The horrific events that unfolded made it anything but, and our lives were changed forever. In the days after 9/11, I was proud to stand with the President in strong support of the authorization to use force against those who attacked us. During those days our President showed great leadership. Politics were put aside, the country pulled together and for a brief time we were united.

In the four-plus years since, everything changed. The President exploited the climate of anxiety, misusing the trust he was given in the wake of the attacks on 9/11 to, among other things, grab intrusive powers in the Patriot Act, and take us into a war in Iraq that has been a diversion from the critical fight against terrorism...

Read the rest of Senator Feingold's diary here

It does my heart a lot of good to see at least one senator is willing to stand up and fight for the constitution. Many law makers have been scared shitless by a president with a 37% approval rating. Feingold ain't one of them. He voted against the patriot act when Bush has a 70+% approval rating. He never cower to the fear mongering that has become bush's policies. The man has cojones. If he ever ran for president come 2008, he can count on my vote.

Halifa Sallah release the following statement after his selection as NADD's flagbearer. Meanwhile any hope at reconciling the opposition is made difficult by diatribes like this one courtesy of Lamin Waa juwara:


Commenting on the withdrawal of UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and NRP’S Hamat Bah from NADD, Waa charged that both Darboe and Bah don’t have the country’s interest at heart, otherwise they would have stayed on board to meet the needs and aspirations of Gambians both at home and abroad for a change of political leadership in the tiny West African country.The withdrawal of Darboe and Hamat from NADD was not justifiable at all. There was absolutely no mistrust amongst coalition leaders. They don’t have the country’s interest at heart. We expected them to respect NADD’S MOU and code of conduct and not to behave otherwise. They are all signatories to the MOU.“ Mbarodi fumed.


The exodus of former NADD members such as Assan Musa Camara and MC Cham to the APRC is not helping matters much. I wonder what the ex-chairman of STGDP (Kebba Foon) will call these new NADD deserters? He call Darbo and by extension Mandinkas tribalist when that guy resigned from NADD. Here is a quote from a posting he made on the Gambia post:


Ladies and gentlemen, I knew long time ago that Ousainou Darboe never meant the the above words he uttered thus what I told Baboucarr Ceesay in Minnesota. I always knew that his party and tribal affiliation was supreme to him which is contrary to the above statement. Mr. Ceesay I say it like it is. I observed a big coincidence that only Mandingos came here in the defence of Osainou Darboe. My brother, Jammeh and the APRC always knew this and they have been using this to win the past two elections. For your information, all the other tribes abhors the Mandingos but they will not talk about it in the open but they will say it loud when they go the polls.

To say that his statement is an affront is an understatement. I am personally offended by this idiots unwarranted and ignorant attack on me and many others who happen to be mandinka by tribe. He claimed that mandinkas are abhor by other tribes. What a moron. Many of us come from families that are not as monolithic as Kebba Foon's. We have uncles, aunts, grandparents you name it that are from other tribes (atleast speaking of my family). The scary part is that this neantherdal was until recently leading an organisation (STGDP) fighting to bring democracy and the rule of law to the Gambia. I guess Kebba Foon has always been an undercover tribal man...he is just using this occasion to come out of the closet. Well at least Buba warned us a while ago that the man is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Here is an excerpt of what Buba wrote on his site:


There is ample evidence to suggest that former STGDP chairman Kebba Foon has a clear agenda against Darboe. At a by-election fundraiser in Minnesota, I became apprehensive about his credibility as a neutral partner after he expressed bitterness about Darboe's "sole desire to lead the coalition." He also complained bitterly about why Darboe had to come to the US on a separate visit when his colleagues had already visited.


After the publication of this article, Kebba Foon's intergrity was vouch for then by some well meaning Gambians. I wonder what they have to say now that he told every body what him and his friends think of mandinkas?

I got sidetracked there for a minute. However it is important that I voice out my contempt for Kebba Foon and his tribal diatribe. Pasted below is the press release:

DECLARATION BY FLAG BEARER

Today, marks the beginning of the final phase of the long journey towards the consolidation of NADD as an instrument for guiding the Gambian people to ensure that they are the architects and guardians of there destiny. The evolution of NADD to become an alternative Government in 2006 has entered its most decisive stage Barely a month after its birthday, 17th January 2006 NADD has selected a flag bearer on the basis of unanimity. This constitutes an extraordinary demonstration of unity of will and purpose. The reason for the birth of NADD is simple. Those who are acquainted with the history of countries and nations know that when a people are confronted with shattered lives and or hopeless existence, those among them who have confidence in the creative powers of the masses must create the centrifugal force which is capable of sensitizing, mobilizing and organizing them to take charge of their destiny and be the architects of a new existence based on renewed hopes and aspirations.

Within one year of its existence NADD has become a Central instrument for the articulation of the vital interests and concerns of the Gambian people. Herein lies the reason why the vast majority is concerned with its survival, protection and development.

Hence, in assuming the function of flag bearer it is necessary to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of NADD in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of the other political forces that are interested in its disintegration and death. This is the only way to enable the people to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to avoid the pitfalls and submerged rocks to attain our aims. Our objective today is not to boast of success and achievement despite overwhelming obstacles and odds; on the contrary, it is to gauge the task that the current situation imposes on us in particular and the Gambian people in general with utmost exactness so that we can lay a correct strategy and a clear line of conduct at this turning point in Gambia's history to enable our people to make a big leap forward in 2006 towards democracy and development.

The history of NADD began with the signing of a remarkably clear and concise document which embodies in totality the fundamental objectives of NADD, commonly referred to as the Memorandum of Understanding. On 17th January 2005, twelve leaders appended their signatures to this historic document. Two signatures came from each of the five parties which gave birth to NADD. The two other signatories are the Chairperson and the Coordinator of NADD who were elected by the party representatives. The leaders did not only append their signatures, they made solemn declaration before an expectant and electrified crowd of their profound faith and commitment to the principles and objectives of NADD. This invitation for the people and posterity to be the witnesses of the exercise sealed the integrity of the Alliance. The stormy enthusiasm of the crowd gave the signatories of the Memorandum extraordinary power of conviction.

An Alliance Of Principle Not An Alliance Of Convenience Contrary to the arguments of NADD's critics that it is an alliance of convenience, the Memorandum of Understanding has impressed on the people with a remarkable force of logic that the alliance is a by-product of historic necessity. It addresses the demands of our times and circumstances. Those who are conscious of the history of the liberation movements, are fully aware that the failure to carry out the democratic revolution after the birth of Independent states had been a fetter to the empowerment of the people and the stifling of their creative powers to build united countries endowed with liberty and prosperity.

The Memorandum of Understanding made it abundantly clear that the coup d'etat of 1994 did not address the demands of post Independent Africa for Democracy and Development. It insists that the 1994 to 1996 transition did not yield a society based on transparency and accountability that the people envisaged nor had it given rise to democratic and constitutional existence that gives the people full authority to determine their manner of government at the Village and District levels and exercise checks over their representatives at the national level. The Memorandum therefore calls for a five year democratic transition to a genuinely democratic and constitutional order that will enable political parties to exist and seek the mandate of the people based on principles and institutions that safeguard best practices of governance in the world. This is why the Memorandum states categorically that the Alliance is rooted in the consciousness of the imperative and the 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 and the conviction that an alliance transcending ideological and other differences in principles, 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 multiparty electoral contest based on diverse principles, policies, programmes and practices.

NADD is not designed to negate a multiparty system; on the contrary it creates the basis for a level ground after a five year democratic transition for each party or presidential aspirant to seek the mandate of the people without any obstacles. This is precisely why the NADD presidential candidate is to serve only one five year term of office and would neither seek a second term nor promote the candidature of any person in the next following election. During the five years, a collective leadership of the representatives of parties shall put in place a cabinet and government that will pursue the following strategic objectives:

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.

The Alliance formulated a Code of Conduct to promote political decency in the country. The Alliance engaged in consultation with the regime through the auspices of the commonwealth. This culminated in the formulation of a Code of Conduct to guide relations between opposition and government. A former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdusalami Abubacarr, was appointed as the moral guarantor of the implementation of the provisions of the Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct was signed on behalf of all parties on the 6th of February 2006 through the mediation of President Obasanjo. The Alliance further authorized visits by the Coordinator to introduce the consultative environment it aims to promote in its relation with other political parties, government and public servants. In this way, the Alliance sought to eliminate any misunderstanding or ill will between political opponents.

On 29th May 2005, the Alliance launched its sensitization and mobilization campaign to broaden its support base among the masses. The simplicity and clarity of explanation regarding the origin and objectives of NADD enabled it to win popular appeal. By the end of May 2005, NADD was set to become a major political force that the ruling APRC could no longer ignore.

Temporary Set Back

Initially, the regime did not appear to acknowledge NADD's overtures for a new political dispensation in the country. Particularly characteristic of the leadership of the APRC regime was their tendency to ridicule the opposition by using threatening phrases and sarcasm.

The first major challenge to the integrity of NADD is when the seats of four National Assembly members were declared vacant on the basis of a provision of law that bars a National Assembly member from leaving the party of which he or she was a member when elected. The Court decision appeared to put a nail on the coffin of NADD. This gave the impression that the NADD leadership had committed political suicide. Instead of whining, the NADD leadership took the obstacles as something temporary. We rapidly grasped the correct strategies to adapt to find a way forward for NADD. The NADD leadership accepted to participate in the by elections under NADD. The tragedy of losing seats in the National Assembly was translated into extraordinary conviction to ensure the survival, protection and development of NADD.

Instead of things falling apart to bring in its wake a large scale disintegration of NADD and desertion of its supporters, the by-elections enabled NADD to test its electoral strength. In six by-elections under NADD it is leading in the number of seats and in popular votes. It has won three parliamentary seats against two by the APRC and one seat of Councillor. It has became abundantly clear after the by-elections that the regime had underestimated the strength of NADD and its popularity. The NADD leadership was soberly weighing its strength and weaknesses after 4 by elections when a new threat to its existence unfolded. The regime accused the opposition of subversive activities without clarifying whether it was referring to registered political or clandestine movements abroad. An attempt by NADD to set the record straight was followed by arrests, detention and charges of sedition and issuing false statements.

The alarming public notices associated with the arrests dampened the spirit of all peace loving Gambians. For a while it appeared that the country was sliding into dark days of political repression and violence. Attempts to hold normal political rallies were suppressed under the pretext of security concerns. Any talk of peaceful demonstration was given a subversive interpretation. The patience of the NADD supporters was tried to the maximum. The failure to grant bail to the NADD leadership after the 72 hours of detention deadline intensified the tense political atmosphere. However, the NADD leadership demonstrated extraordinary foresight in impressing on the supporters that the intention of NADD's opponents to drive it into subversive activities had to be fought with maturity and power of organization and conviction in the creative ability of the people, to rally behind forces that are genuinely interested in their liberation and empowerment politically and economically. People waited in disbelief for the dust to settle so that they would know with clarity what stand to take. The majority of Gambians, irrespective of party affiliation, want peace. It was clear to the NADD leadership that any provocation or reaction by violent means by any party, would conflict with the fundamental interest of the Nation. It therefore called on its supporters to continue to display a decent and mature political conduct that would earn NADD the confidence and sympathy of the vast majority of the Gambian people and just humanity at large. It was made clear that the battle for change was a battle for the hearts and minds of the people and not a battle to show which party is more vicious in perpetrating violence against its opponents. Instead of leaping in the dark and shrinking in popularity, the arrest and subsequent court appearance enabled the supporters to inspire each other by their share numbers to give solidarity to the NADD leadership.

Today the dark days of the arrest and detention are behind us. Nation Reconciliation has been effected under the auspices of President Obasanjo. The Code of Conduct will be circulated to all NADD militants so that its content will be written in our hearts, minds and conscience, as well as to guide our practice. There is no doubt that even before the selection of a flag bearer the NADD leadership has been able to sweep every obstacle on its path in a peaceful and dignified way. This has earned NADD integrity nationally and internationally.

The way forward

The final selection of flag bearer has met NADD walking on its feet. What is necessary now is to exercise modesty, vigilance and conviction. The next phase of the struggle is more intense. It requires a strong, united and decisive leadership in order to earn the confidence of cross sections of the Gambian people to allow victory in 2006. We are conscious of the fact that collective leadership can be forged when each party avoids its interest from conflicting with national interest.

Fundamentally, NADD intends to take leadership of the country through partnership with all democratic and peace loving forces in the country. It intends to administer the country on the basis of partnership and collective leadership with representatives of parties and civil society organizations. We therefore, call on all Gambians who want a fresh start for the country to increase their financial, material, moral and practical support to NADD. The mystery surrounding the flag bearer is now over. The battle for the hearts and minds of the people can now be renewed with the extraordinary intensity it requires. Each person should transform himself or herself into an educator, mobiliser and organiser of the people and the battle for 2006 would be won by the people without any violence. It is the creative power of the people themselves which will be the foundation of the olive branch revolution that will bring NADD to the helm of national affairs. NADD will then seek to rectify the wrongs instead of victimizing opponents. An open society based on tolerance, the promotion of national unity, rule of law, freedom, respect for fundamental rights and freedom, justice, peace and prosperity would be built.

The NADD leadership intends to put its Technical Committee work with immediacy to have citizen input in the draft manifesto of NADD which will be circulated to expert who wish to enter into partnership with NADD. The manifesto will be launched in April. NADD will begin to form a shadow cabinet in May and inspire each branch to formulate alternative policies thereafter. NADD will govern on this basis with all those who are committed to Democracy and Development.

The government should acknowledge that with a debt burden of over 22 billion dalasis requiring payment of over 30 per cent of total revenue to service it; with 69 per cent of the population living in an abject poverty, with Gambians working abroad contributing 856 million dalasis to the Gambian economy as remittances, with travel income estimated at 2.2 billion in 2004, with a re-export trade estimated at 209 billion in 2004, this highly indebted poor country that NADD will inherit, cannot afford the politics of confrontation. It is only a peaceful atmosphere that can help us to gain the type of revenue that is required to meet the development needs of the country.

It is incontrovertible that the voice of the majority is a power that no leader can fail to respect and remain in office. This is the time to put an end to the dark pages of Gambian history such as the murder of Deyda Hydara, the shooting of Ousman Sillah, the arrest and detention of persons in maximum security cells to ensure that our peaceful homeland will never know the tremors and uncertainties of war and civil strife. NADD is willing to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, establishing the Africa Peer Review Mechanism so that even the opponents of NADD will be protected by adherence to the standards of best practice. NADD shall institute a democracy that will enable the Gambia to be at peace with its neighbours, and government to be in partnership with her people so as to build a unified Gambia of a prosperous and happy people thriving on the fruits of democracy and sustainable development.

Long live NADD Long live Democracy
Long live the rule of law
Long live the respect for fundamental rights and freedoms
Long live the Gambia
Long live African unity
Long live international solidarity

From the Executive Committee of NADD



Another genocide is taking place on the continent of Africa while the rest of the world refused to take notice. All that cries of never again that reverbrate around the world after the Rwandan genocide is hogwash...

This is how Mary Scott puts it in a diary published at the dailyKos:

The distilled facts are these: prior to the Indonesian tsunami, many eyes were focused on Darfur - and the killing and dying diminished. Noticeably. Then came
the tsunami, and as our collective heads turned toward that catastrophe, the killing and dying in Darfur resumed its former frequency.
Is it that you can't bear the thought of it, and so turn away, finding the unimaginable come to life too unbearably painful to witness? It's true - it is the unimaginable sprung forth, AGAIN. Don't fucking kid yourselves - this is a
genocide no different than Rwanda's. It's just younger so the numbers haven't reached that arbitrary level that makes the world take notice. Gotta get to half a million I guess, before it warrants more than 2 minutes a week on a network news program.
The time has come for me to step up and acknowledge MY culpability in this tragedy. I have wept and ranted, wrung my hands and howled at the moon... But I have DONE NOTHING. I can't remember the last time I wrote about Darfur. I gave up, you see. Didn't hit on the magic formula that would get enough people talking and raging and yelling loudly enough for long enough. No instant gratification, here, girlie, move along.

Read the whole diary to get a sense of her outrage. She is so right. The American media has largely ignored the tragedy taking place in Darfur. The ugly truth is that to get decision makers in this country to act on anything required a hounding of the traditional media's santimonious outrage. That hasn't happen in the case of Darfur. I hope this will start a push from the blogosphere to get them to cover this story and by extension get people in power to act. They are hypocrites but the end of their hypocrisy in this issue will justify the means if the final outcome is the end of the human suffering that is Darfur.



Georgie claimed nobody anticipated the breech of the levees. In fact he was lying through his teeth. He derelicted in his duty, but tried to pull a fast one on us. Most of us knew all along that Bush was lying but now sceptics can see for themselves on this video.

Michael Brown took a lot of flap for his role as FEMA chief ( and rightly so). But come to think of it Brownie was doing a "heckuva" of job in trying to warn our bone head of a president of the impending disaster that is headed towards New Orleans.

The NADD leadership impasse has been finally laid to rest, as Halifa Sallah, of the opposition PDOIS, was today confirmed as the coalition's flag bearer, the Freedom Newspaper can authoritatively reveal. Latest reports from Banjul say the prominent and vocal politician was officially named by his colleagues to lead NADD in the country’s 2006 polls. Halifa, a charismatic politician is been described in many quarters as a sellable candidate who could posed as a threat to incumbent President Yahya Jammeh... freedomnewspaper


Which begs the question: what does this development do to the dynamics of opposition politics in the Gambia? All indications are the UDP/NRP alliance is in full campaign swing as reported by the point in this piece:

Addressing a political rally recently organised by the UDP/NRP alliance, Mr Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party has said that the money spent by President Jammeh on buying luxurious cars should have been better spent on the improvement of health care delivery system. He added that the money could also be better spent on combating illiteracy, malaria, poverty as well as reducing unemployment among youths. The money, he went on, could help tremendously in buying the farmers’ nuts... the point


The confusing aspect to all this drama is that the UDP and NRP are supposedly members of the NADD alliance if the last press release from NADD is anything to go by. It read in part thus:

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.

I suspect the UDP/NRP people are interpreting NADD as an alliance as opposed to a party which it evolved into after the supreme court decision. The devil in essence is in the detail.

However, with the selection of Halifa as flag bearer, the issue of leadership becomes redundant and a non issue in my opinion. If the UDP and NRP are part of the NADD alliance, and that alliance chose Halifa as the flagbearer, then we have a unified and solitary challenger to Yahya. Unless my naivete is out of this world, I am of the opinion that there is a united opposition once again with Halifa Sallah as its candidate for the october 2006 presidential election. No?

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