The recently concluded stand-off between the Jammeh administration and the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) is if anything, a harbiger for more confrontation in the very near future. Once again we are being tested for resolve and determination in our strive to end dictatorship in the Gambia. Right to peaceful assembly by citizens of a democratic country especially of members of lawfully constituted political parties as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic, are non-negotiable.
As a civil society organisation, the National Resistance Movement of the Gambia (NRMG) strongly believes that after 20 years of dictatorship the struggle to unseat the Jammeh administration should adopt a much tougher stance in dealing with an existential threat that the regime has come to represent. With the collapse of the rule of law and the institution of the rule of impunity, any attempt to remove this rogue regime through the ballot box must be done from a position of strength; from collective ability to negotiate where necessary but to stand our ground firmly for our right to freely determine our destiny. Going to elections without outlining concrete conditions would only legitimize a system that derives legitimacy from an exercise in futility.
In light of current efforts by civil society organisations in the Diaspora as well as political groupings inside the country, it is the stance of the NRMG that if the country would be liberated through the ballot box then the playing fields should be level. Outlined below is a basic three-point plan that we believe is pre-requisite for free and fair elections:
- Nearly 22 years in power, a period that unleased one of the most brutal dictatorships in modern history on the people of the Gambia, Jammeh who accended to power with promise to fight corruption and longivity in government must step aside in the interest of peace and national unity
- Based on the centrality and inevitability of the foregoing, the next democratic exercice by Gambians to determine their manner of administration should be an automatic Post-Jammeh endeavor. This raises the need for a Transition Government outside the scope and influence of the current administration
- The Transition Government must ensure elections meet basic fundamentals of free and fair standards. In this conduct the Transition Government must consult widely on the establishment of not only an Independent Electoral Commission but must stipulate the rules in a referandum following nationwide consultations with citizens
Any Opposition Party/Parties that opt to enter into the 2016 election without due consideration to its adverse implications would be legitimizing a dictatorship and further endangering the wellbeing of the Gambian people.