By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia’s Music Union held a press conference on Monday 7th December 2020 to announce the dates for their long-awaited Constitutional Review and Congress. According to Interim Committee member, Pa Modou Sarr, a Constitutional Review meeting will take place on 16th December 2020 followed by a Congress on the 29th of December 2020. This was after the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) gave them an ultimatum to hold a congress in order to access D250,000 as Covid 19 Emergency Funds.
According to Interim Committee Member Pa Modou Sarr, the Music Union is currently facing challenges to receive Emergency Covid 19 Funds from the NCAC which has given them an ultimatum to hold a congress before receiving a total sum of D250,000.
During the press conference, Mr Sarr explained that they had always informed the NCAC that they wanted to progress their Constitution and Congress independently. He told the media that NCAC “Director, Mr Sheihk Omar Jallow, specifically said that, moving on they’re going to be the one to take care of the congress. They’re going to take D50,000 out of the D250,000 that was for the Musician and the Artistic Union. Now they’re only going to use D50,000 and then organise congress for us. We come and do our congress and after that, the newly elected Executive that will come into office will now use that D200,000.”
The ultimatum did not go down well with the Interim Music Union as Mr Sarr explained how they were let down after series of consultations which begun in October 2020. “That has not been our communication with them from the onset. We felt that it is very very wrong and we were treated really bad. After having consultation way back. How can you allow us to have consultation with you, tell us this is the reason why we can’t give you this money? Now you telling us that, in fact, we are going to take care of everything and we are going to use your D50,000 into this. Now we have a position on that.”
In response to the ultimatum, Mr Sarr explained that they “sent them [NCAC] a message to tell them that keep the D200,000 and the D50,000 together. Moving on as a joint committee we are going to make sure that we get the money to organise this press conference. To organise the Constitutional Review. To also organise Congress to make sure that D250,000 is intact when it is time to transfer it to the coming Executive. Now this is our position. We don’t want our D50,000 to be used we don’t want it in anyway to be less if its to be sent to the Union when the new Executive are elected.”
The Gambia Music Union is currently going through a reform process which started in late 2019 when a new interim committee was formed to prepare a draft Constitution and a Congress to elect the Gambia Music Union Executive.
The current acting President and acting Secretary of the interim Gambia Music Union is Gibou “Gee” Bala-Gaye and Ali “Killa Ace” Cham, respectively. Speaking to Killa Ace after the Press Conference he explained that three other Committee Members were also added to the committee when they were voted in on August 2019. The additional three interim committee members are Pa Modou Sarr, Essa Colley aka ENC and Haddy Jadama aka Lizzy the Hardest.
Gambia Music Union – December 2020 Schedule
- Constitutional Review – 16th of December 2020 at YMCA
- Congress – 29th December 2020 at Ebunjan Theatre
Road to Congress
According to Mr Sarr “the Constitutional Review is only going to involve stakeholders that are in the music or entertainment scene. We’ll be inviting different personalities we equally will be inviting different genres of music in this country.”
“A lot of people have been asking us why don’t you release the constitution because it is for public consumption and that is true. But we wanted to make sure that the stakeholders that we’re going to look at this also have an eye on it before we push it out there. And at the end of the day, it’s out for grab for everybody to look at it have our observations on it. And then when we get to congress, we’ll be able to have our input on them as well.”
“After the 16th then we will push out the Constitution for everyone to have their input. It is our belief that from the 16th to the 29th one should be able to read through the constitution one or two times to be able to have some points that you want to correct or see adopted at congress level. Because this is the process that we have to take.”
“We have to make sure everyone has a hand in this process. It cannot be the job of the executive alone or the interim committee to actually have everything in there. Our part is just to make sure that we work on the draft and invite a legal minded person who we have paid to look at it. That person has already done their part and now we are going to make sure that we put it to the Constitutional Review Committee. And then from there, we will take it to congress.”