“Our ultimate salvation is not in Senegal, Brussels or Washington D.C. Our success lies within ourselves; in our willingness to do what it takes to break the bondage of tyranny. This is not to diminish the fundamentality of conducting diplomacy, which our Party is widely known for. Meetings and statements, important as they are, shall not get us to the ultimate destination. This is time for action.”
The above is contained in a solidarity message to the participants of the Gambia Conference on Democracy and Good Governance in Raleigh, North Carolina, The full text of the message sent by the Gambia Moral Congress party leader Lawyer Mai Fatty. The message below was ready by a veteran Gambian politician Omar Amadou Jallow.
On behalf of GMC, I have the honour and privilege to express our profound appreciation to the co-organisers and sponsors of Gam-conference 2013 – The Gambia Democratic Action Group, Save The Gambia Democracy Project and the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists. Allow me to make special mention of Mr. Alkali Conteh, Lamin Tunkara, Fatty Kunda Nyacho Banka Manneh, the able Pa Samba Jow, Musa Jeng, Comrade Ousainou Mbenga and the rest of crew. If your name is not mentioned, it is not because your role has not been generously acknowledged. Thank you very much for what you have been doing for our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen; I send you fraternal greetings from our Leadership and GMC supporters not only in The Gambia but around the world. We are with you each moment of this historic gathering right through to the implementation of its Resolutions. GMC congratulates you and wish you very successful deliberations. We also welcome the initiatives taken by our compatriots in England at the recent London Congress, which culminated in the election of a Committee under the Chairmanship of Hon. Bakary Darbo.
While congratulating all those elected to serve along with him, we wish to extend to them a generous hand of fraternity and solidarity. Allah, the Omnipotent, bears me witness that if there is anywhere else I would love to be today, it is to be with you right here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I did all within my human capacity to be able to join you here in resolving the urgent challenges confronting our nation and peoples. The Organising Committee of this Conference has been privy to those genuine efforts. Together, they supported me to make it a success, and I am thankful to them. Even with our combined efforts, unfortunately, my presence among you this time was not Decreed by Allah. I accept His Will with total submission, gratitude, faith and patience. I bear testimony to the unconditional acceptance of the undeniable truth that God’s time is the best, and I praise the Almighty for His absolute authority over me and my destiny.
Mr. Chairman, allow me this opportunity to express our strong commitment to our
enduring partnership with the United Democratic Party, in working together to forge significant political changes in our country. The UDP-GMC-PPP Alliance is grounded on trust, sincerity, principle, vision and profound respect. GMC remains loyal to the leadership of our great Alliance. I take this opportunity to convey the goodwill and solidarity of my leadership and that of our Party supporters to the UDP Secretary General and Leader of the UDP-GMC-PPP United Alliance, the Hon. Ousainu Darboe who is here with you in Raleigh. We thank him for his sterling leadership, for his statesmanship, for his rare service to our country, and for being a great role model to emerging politicians like us. Hon. Ousainu Darboe, let me assure you that you remain our leader, and that you can continue to depend on our loyalty and support. To Hon. Omar Jallow, I will compensate you for stealing your wife at a wrestling contest between us if my Nyancho Banka Manneh would be the referee. However, you can have consolation that she is in good hands and about me and her, reserve no worries. Hon Hamat Bah, I thank you for your care and visits during my hospitalization in Dakar. The times we spent together, and the discussions we had are fresh in my mind, and I value those moments. Njaarama.
Mr. Chairman, there is only one objective that merits exclusive focus: achieving total political change in our country. This effort must be championed and led by Gambians. No oppressed people that depend essentially on external assistance from tyranny ever succeeded in liberating themselves. We beg to differ with those who pin substantial hopes on a foreign government to launch them into the fulfillment of political ambition. The independence of our country shall not be compromised, the integrity of our institutions shall be enforced and the inviolability of our resources shall be protected.
Gambians shall liberate our country without appeasement to a certain country, which may potentially jeopardize our long term stability and independence. It would be unfortunate to subscribe to the principle of power delivered on a silver platter by a foreign government. This would be a dangerous miscalculation, an unrealistic aspiration, and a clear lack of vision. Here in Raleigh, we must pull our own weight and depend on it. We must make the necessary sacrifices ourselves, for no one shall fight our battle for us. By now, we must come to the inevitable realization that only we ourselves shall get the job, and we must assume that mindset supported by the right vision with targeted, pragmatic, result-oriented actions.
Our ultimate salvation is not in Senegal, Brussels or Washington D.C. Our success lies within ourselves; in our willingness to do what it takes to break the bondage of tyranny. This is not to diminish the fundamentality of conducting diplomacy, which our Party is widely known for. Meetings and statements, important as they are, shall not get us to the ultimate destination. This is time for action.
In charting a way forward, it must be understood and appreciated that your natural partner is the internal opposition on the ground. Let me trumpet it and clear here that there can be no successful political transformation that alienates the internal opposition, and by this I mean the opposition Parties on the ground. The international community will not open up to serious dialogue on the future of our country in any initiatives that set to render the internal opposition secondary. I know this. With all humility, we have had more consistent, diverse and extensive interaction and diplomatic intercourse with the international community than any existing Gambian political group.
For us to succeed, the Diaspora and the internal opposition on the ground must embrace each other, complimenting each other. We cannot succeed by mutual antagonism, mistrust, confrontation and competition. There was never a time, and there will not be a time during the struggle to cast aspersions on the internal opposition. The Gambian opposition, like the Diaspora reflects the nature of The Gambian society. We are what you are, so let us look inward. Yet there is hope. This Conference is intended to enable us banish negative values, and in their place enthrone a culture of cooperation and solidarity – working together in a united, concerted action as one entity, one people to deliver change to our citizens.
On the sensitive, but elusive issue of a united opposition on the ground, this is truly vital. It is the unanimous conviction of all stakeholders in the struggle for the opposition parties to unite under a single leadership. Speaking for our Alliance, we share this conviction.
However, it is easier said than done. The issue of a united opposition is the most complex labyrinth in the process. I am confident that the UDP-GMC-PPP Alliance shall continue to search for all avenues for a united opposition. Let me also state that no country in the world has had its opposition totally united in facing the incumbent. To demand 100% unity of the opposition parties is a continuous work in progress. The same way that Gambian Diaspora organisations cannot achieve unity although your objectives are identical, explains how tough the process may be. What is helpful is for you to help us overcome this challenge with wisdom and patience, not condemnation and vilification.
Lastly, our view of a successful conference is one that sets up an umbrella entity with the primary objective of supporting the capacity of the internal opposition as well empowering their structures on the ground. The notion of a conference to empower a diaspora entity as the face and soul of the struggle seeking the blessing of the internal opposition leadership to facilitate the same would be an unrealistic expectation. Anything that has the potential to split us into them and us should not find its way either directly or subtly in our deliberations or Resolutions. Regular contacts, consultation and coordination based on mutual respect, should dictate dealings between both sides.
Mr. Chairperson, GMC assures you our full support within the context of the United Alliance. We shall continue to consult within the Alliance with a view to harmonizing and coordinating policies and efforts that may emerge out of this Conference, where there is a convergence. I can also assure you that, under the leadership of Hon. Ousainu Darboe, the United Alliance shall continue to relentlessly search and work for the unity of the opposition parties on the ground. We ask for your support in facilitating this.
Once again, I pay homage to the organisers of this historic event. I would also like to recognize the presence of Hon. Bakary Bunja Darbo, Dr. Abdoulaye Saine, Dr. Sedat Jobe, Dr. Amadou Scatred Janneh, and all other Delegates who came from different States within the United States and outside of the United States. This is the opportunity we have been calling for. Let us make it a success in the interest of Mother Gambia. I formally request that this Statement be taken as part of the official records of this Conference.
May the Almighty Allah help us in liberating our country. Long Live the Republic of The Gambia! Thank you all.