On behalf of Sene-Gambia Human Rights Defence League, I send you and your informative media…. Seasons Greetings and best wishes for the coming year. I am sure your readership/listeners will agree it has been a challenging and Eventful year. The best part of the year for us was the fact that, the struggle to establish (not restore) sanity and Good Governance in Gambia, took on a proactive stance, while staying adequately reactive to Events unfolding from Banjul. That shows signs of maturity and a better understanding of our plight. The year also witnessed joint undertakings by groupings, more exchanges of fraternal solidarity and signs of firmed up commitments to transform Gambia for all.
There has been lots of visits between groups across Europe,USA and Africa as never before….solidifying bonds between us and renewing our pledges not to give in to FEAR from TYRANNY.
London initiated a joint campaign platform (CDCG), arising from the realisation that together, we create a more significant impact than working in our numerous single groupings.
In tandem with as many diaspora groups as possible, and with political parties on the ground, organisations in the USA, were able put together a successful international conference (unprecedented) in my experience, in Raleigh, North Carolina) to discuss a way forward for a Gambia sinking into new lows each time we turn on to the newsprint or listen to online radio media run by our folks. A steering committee has been formed and the various positions will be filled in early in the New Year and work in earnest will begin to implement the accord agreed. Sweden and UK had similar continental gatherings .We had exchange visits in Europe, the USA and Dakar during the year cementing relations across three continents. In our various places of abode, we organised Demonstrations and occupied Embassies to make our point, resulting, in the case of the USA, in the arrest of three brave activists including a lady…heightening our campaign.
We witnessed joint campaign efforts by four political parties on the ground to send agreed messages to the Gambian people in two successful rallies held in Kanifing and Brikama cities in Gambia. This was preceded by a formidable Fund raising effort, co-ordinated by a selected few and with the assistance of our online radio media. Such a joint campaign has never taken place in Gambia before, since the struggle for independence.
There has been a significant increase among our youth and women, of involvement in the struggle to liberate Gambia from tyranny, and a more targeted and effective use of the social media to this effect.
We witnessed a year in which lobbying of corridors of power and influence took on a more targeted and organised form. These include contacts with ECOWAS, The AU, EU and the US Congress. We have had insightful articles analysing issues on Gambia by individuals, across the pages of our newsprint, adding to our campaign efforts.
One will readily admit, we could have done much better in all of the endeavours above, but I rather we learn from the errors and limitations of our ways, and improve on our performance this coming year. We have had setbacks, we have had infighting and intra squabbles. These are inevitable as all struggles have their contradictions which make us all pause to evaluate and move onto better directions. Let no such squabbles and contradictions distract us or worse help arm Jammeh and cohorts in Banjul.
From evidence gathered, the Jammeh regime has been weakened fivefold over the past year, as a result of our individual and joint campaigning efforts to weaken his regime and hasten the day of its collapse. The grip on his regime is tightening as sanctions increase, as our youth get emboldened and as The Gambian people harden their resolve to take back their country from a ruthless regime, whose performance by all indices is poor.
We encourage all Gambian organisations to forge links, the media houses to liaise and work closer on targeted themes, avoid squabbles as much as possible and focus on the removal of the Jammeh regime, while thinking seriously of what kind of regime our country needs to avoid reactionary opportunist alliances continuing the agony of our people in a new form.
The desire by Gambians to live and assemble freely without fear of arrest and detention, to expect basic services(Education, Health etc),and to participate in the running of their affairs are all enshrined in Articles of Human Rights to which she is a signatory.
May 2014 be the year of the salvation for Gambia.