Inshallah I intend to travel to Raliegh, NC on the weekend of May 18-19 to meet my fellow citizens and friends of The Gambia. The agenda for the meeting as outlined by the facilitators is as ambitious as it is timely, a combination I believe makes it worthy of the support of anyone who believes our nation can and should be on a better path. Our difficult struggle against a cruel tyrant has been long and arduos. Some of our people have paid the ultimate price , while others continue to endure persistent injustice , economic ruin and exile. And because our collective effort as regime opponents have fallen short over the years, a worrying and to some extent understandable sense of discouragement and fatalism has begun to set in the minds of some.
The truth is nearly all of us have had our morale sapped by our collective inability to have the regime’s opponents craft and execute the one agenda item all agree is the precursor to having a real democracy and that is regime change. We the people have only two choices. Change the regime and bring democracy with all it’s attendant benefits or live with the regime and endure repression and the dispossession that comes with that. Those of us who seek change must necessarily embark on the only route that can swiftly and reliably deliver the desired outcome and that is unity. Any effort that fails to bring together the broadest spectrum of Gambian society will as in the recent past prove to be inadequate to the grave national crisis we face. I believe the organisers of the Raliegh meeting have drawn important lessons from recent history.
Consequently, the May gathering is the first time a concerted effort is being made to bring every constituency to sit at the table and together craft the way forward. The invitees include representatives of political parties, civil society organisations, journalists, individual activists, and unaffiliated citizens. The idea is to harness and aggregate what each constituency brings table to produce a specific action plan that we can all support and follow through. This strategy builds on earlier attempts which essentially put the fate of the nation in the hands of a handful of politicians and when that plan went awry it doomed years of hard work. The diverse and broad base nature of the undertaking would afford each constituency an opportunity to have their issues amplified by the whole group . For example the strong and meaningful demands made by the G6 is something ALL regime opponents support since it takes off the table sham elections that is designed to subvert the true will of the people. That principled stand is working as evidenced by the latest so called election with turnout in some cases less than 20% in the few areas where people bothered to vote. The Gambian people in their absolute majority do not support Yahya Jammeh and his terrible regime. However our people need a vehicle to channel their determined rejection of him and that can only come when we all rise above our petty differences and work together to build a functional democracy.
Our duty is to keep trying to see what is best and honorable in any Gambian who rejects repression. Our struggle needs all our people, the wise, the humble, the determined, the discouraged because we are the change we seek. Please make an effort to come to Raliegh, have an open mind, embrace your comrade in the struggle, be a good listener, appreciate effort even the minimal kind, remember unity of purpose and that all the effort being exerted is for Gambia .If you really can’t make it to Raliegh,let your friends know about the meeting and send the attendees and organisers your prayers and if you are able send them money to defray the costs associated with hosting a worldwide gathering. We are at a cross road, everyone can and should consider doing something. You can help the struggle quietly if that is what suits you and like liberation struggles the world over every individual effort counts a great deal.