Commemoration of December 1st – National Day Democracy

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Theme: The Gambia We Want: PUBLIC STATEMENT

Today December 1st marks the first anniversary since Gambians took the landmark decision to vote out former president Yaya Jammeh out of office and elected Pres. Adama Barrow as the third president of this country. TANGO wishes to congratulate Gambians and friends of the Gambia within the sub-region and Africa as well as in the international community for the steadfastness, maturity and the peacefulness with which they handled the transition of power. The decision that Gambians took on 1st December 2016 was not merely to end dictatorship in our country but was also to usher in a democratic dispensation that upholds the sovereignty of the citizen, the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and the establishment of democratic and accountable governance that will lay the foundation for the sustainable development of this country.

In light of this, TANGO wishes to call on all Gambians, at home and abroad to commemorate December 1st as a day when democracy was restored in our motherland. December 1st is the first time in the history of the Gambia that political power was changed through peaceful conduct of elections. It is the day when Gambians regained their sovereignty since independence, which was hijacked and abused by an elected president for two decades. It marked the moment when Gambians collectively shed off the cloak of fear and desperation to stand up together to end a culture of violations and impunity in their country. For that matter TANGO will advocate for the adoption of December 1 as National Democracy Day.

TANGO wishes to therefore inform the general public that it is mobilizing the wider civil society and citizen groups to embark on a series of activities to mark this day. TANGO’s own commemoration in collaboration with a broad range of non-state actors will commence on December 10th, which is the International Human Rights Day. These activities will include a national press conference by non-state actors, street parades, concerts, policy dialogues and radio and television talk shows among others. The general public will be adequately informed in due course on the organization of these activities.

TANGO is commemorating the day under the theme: The Gambia We Want. The theme is a self-conscious realization that ultimately only Gambians can make or break the Gambia. The theme is drawn from a sense of empowerment and national ownership that only citizens can determine the kind of state and society they want. It is a recognition that never again will Gambians remain mute, dormant and indifferent to the issues and their concerns about their country or aid and abet bad leadership and poor governance. Rather henceforth Gambians will become active participants in the governance of their country knowing full well that only an active and vigilant citizenry is the only panacea to bad governance, corruption and poor leadership.

TANGO therefore invites all citizens, public institutions, private sector firms, civil society groups, trade unions, the academia, the media and religious and community leaders and indeed all stakeholders to commemorate the day in their various ways and places as a National Democracy Day.

When Gambians decided on December 1st they decided for respect for human rights, social justice and equality and adherence to the rule of law under a democratic dispensation characterized by a transparent, accountable and inclusive governance system that ensures sustainable development. That is to say that Gambians decided on December 1st against abuse of power, corruption, political patronage, human rights violations, and disregard of the constitution and the rule of law.

TANGO will continue to provide more information on the modalities of the commemoration.

Forward with the Gambia!

Signed…………………….…

John Charles Njie

TANGO Board Chair

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