Gambia MapSpeech by Pa Modou Ann, (Lt. Col. Rtd), Secretary General, National Resistance Movement of the Gambia, NRMG

First and foremost let us observe a minute silence for our fellow countrymen who have lost their lives on or about the 30 December 2014 in Banjul; praying that their deaths may not be in vain.

Fellow Gambians, dear compatriots in the struggle, members and supporters of the National Resistance movement, NRMG, I take this opportunity at this crucial juncture of our fight against tyranny in our beloved country, to reaffirm my commitment to the struggle as well as that of the Movement that I am leader of. We have come a long way since the Gambia came under a home-
grown totalitarianism.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable….. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals”.

For the last 20 years we have individually and collectively spoken-out against what we know is hampering human progress in a country hitherto known for her respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law and peaceful co-existence. Within the community of nations we had been singled out to house the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, and became equally the economic gateway of our sub-region. The coup of 22 July 1994 that brought President Jammeh to power was announced with pledges to end corruption and mismanagement in government with a slogan, “Transparency, Accountability, Probity and Good Governance”.

Unfortunately today, we have sunk into the abyss of hopelessness and despair, synonymous with one of the most repressive regimes of modern history. Citizens continue to disappear from the surface of this earth without trace, while many more have been arrested and kept in secret detention centers across the country. An attempt to enumerate the atrocities of the Jammeh regime would be impossible in a single narrative. What is clear is that the Gambia has lost its credibility and place in the dispensation of succinct regional and international diplomacy and politics. Jammeh has not only stifled independent opinion, but also criminalizes legitimate opposition. All we asked for as a people is the fulfilment of the very promises the regime advanced for justifying the 22nd July take-over. But our cries have always been met by transgressive brutality. The prisons are all full; clandestine detention facilities littered all over; people fleeing in large numbers for fear of persecution; political murders rampant. We have in effect, been denied the right to determine the manner of our government as guaranteed by the constitution of the Republic of the Gambia.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”, John F Kennedy. Frustrations with the status-quo has led Gambians into ventures that seek to support violent confrontation with the Jammeh regime in the past and of recent. The events of 30th December 2014 which resulted in loss of live is a case in point. We may not agree entirely with the strategy and tactics employed by the master-minds of this episode, but will not differ on the nobility of their intentions and by the ultimate sacrifice they have made.

Gambians are now sending a clear message to dictator Jammeh that as a result of gross human rights abuses within the country, Gambians are now united on exploring every means to ensure that their rights are respected and that he must step aside in the interest of peace and stability. Indeed this is a turning point in the history of our struggle, revealing the final phase that will send the tyrant packing. We at the NRMG have not only pioneered the philosophy of “Change by all means necessary”, but also stands at the forefront of “Strategic non-violence” or “Strategic Violence” whenever the opportunity avails itself. A failed Gambia will not only spell doom for its people but also threaten the stability of the entire sub-region.

Once again we call on the United Nations Security Council, (UNSC); Africa Union (AU); Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); The European Union (EU); United States of America (US) and Great Britain, to hear the cries of the Gambian people in their fight for a democratic, just and free society.

The recognition of our special relation with the sister republic of Senegal linked by cultural, traditional and family ties, require that we do our part in further strengthening our “Senegambianness”. Senegal can hardly reap the dividends of democracy and the rule of law, while the Gambia sinks into the abyss of dictatorship and lawlessness.

Turning to the home front, NRMG believes that the political opposition inside the Gambia will not only do itself disservice by participating in or preparing for election with the current leadership, but will also jeopardize efforts people are undertaking for the dictatorship to relinquish power. Free, fair and transparent elections cannot take place under Jammeh`s watch. Simply put, without political and electoral reforms, in a free and just society, any hopes to unseat him through the ballot box will be unrealistic and therefore an exercise in futility.

NRMG is calling on all organizations and brothers and sisters in the struggle to close the gap between groups and be united on the common goal of returning democratic dispensation to the Gambia and peoples of the Gambia. We certainly have differences of philosophy and strategy, but these differences must be harnessed in a positive sense if we are to build up a strong democratic foundation and tradition. We must exercise discipline, maturity and an understanding in dealing with the challenges at hand to be able to set priorities right, which in NRMG’s view, is to focus on the best outcome for the Gambian people.

Fellow Gambians, we all must take full cognizance of the recent happenings at home, to be a serious lesson for all of us. “The Struggle for Democracy” is a very serious undertaking, and should be treated as such.

NRMG as a Movement for meaningful democratic change herewith presents to the Gambian people a platform and a rallying point to renewed struggle as an alternative to the present undemocratic system, an approach that applies all necessary means available to enhance democratic change, through the Strategic non-violence and Strategic violence approach.

The road map for our people is divided into five phases,

  1. The needed strategies and actions to dislodge this undemocratic and repressive government

  2. The final actions of Strategic non-violence and strategic violence, whichever is appropriate

  3. Post Jammeh transition and rectification

  4. General elections, for Gambians to elect their own leaders

  5. Our Relationship with our immediate neighbors – Senegal, ECOWAS, the AU and our traditional friends and partners to be re-established based on mutual interests.

In Conclusion, fellow Gambians, while our enemy is equipped with might of aggression and transgression, we too hold this to self-evidence that as a people, we are endowed by our creator with inalienable rights to live, liberty and a pursuit to happiness. Equipped with the power of truth that will persevere in the long dark tunnel to the light of freedom, liberty and prosperity. But the onus is on all of us to make this happen and together we can. May God bless The Republic of the Gambia!

Long live The Gambia!

Long live NRMG!

God bless you all!

Ends

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