gccBelow is the word-for-word copy of the Gambia Consultative Council’ strategy document.  The council is headed by Dr. Sidat Jobe, the Gambia’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs. Overview Objective 1. Creation of an up-to thirty-five member National Transitional Council to consist of representatives from each political party, civil society organization, unaffiliated Gambians and Gambians professionals and academics from around the world Objective 2. The removal of the Yahya Jammeh and AFPRC military regime for office Objective 3. The election, nomination, selection or appointment of a twelve-man Transitional Government from among the thirty-five member National Transitional Council to run affairs of the state and prepare the country for the first free and fair national elections, and the return to democratic party rule Objective 4. GCC dissolution and freeing of members to pursue other national interests.

Defining GCC

 

GCC is a coalition of politically active Gambian dissident organizations, groups and unaffiliated individuals from home and around the world, united by the burning desire for political change in the Gambia. GCC’s governing body comprises preeminent Gambians of outstanding executive experiences with unmatched dedication to the struggle to restore democracy and the rule of law in Gambia. As a civil society organization, the GCC is not assigned the character of a government-in-waiting, nor aspire to morph into a political party in the event of political changes in Gambia. GCC’s serving executive members are not permitted to dabble in divisive party politicking to avoid the perception of counteracting the organization’s gospel of unity. As a civilian organization, GCC is painfully conscious of the importance of maintaining neutrality in a multiparty system, understanding and appreciating the toxicity of bipartisanship, in a climate where Gambian unity across social and political discriminations overshadows the other needs of an emerging new political dispensation. The GCC is an impermanent political advocacy organization that will disband and cease to exist following the standing of a credible Gambian Transitional Government in which every political party, civil society organization, unaffiliated Gambians, and Gambian professionals and academics are represented to take the lead in the creation of a multi-party democratic Gambia.

Background

 

In July 1994, the AFPRC military regime came to power in Gambia following the overthrow of a democratically elected civilian government. The next two decades proved to be the most tragic in Gambian history. The limited display of government heavy-handedness listed below paints a broad picture of the severity and pervasiveness of Gambia’s human tragedy since the ascension of the AFPRC military regime. i. In 1995, The Gambia’s civilian Finance Minister, Koro Ousman Ceesay, was assassinated for threats to expose the massive corruption of the AFPRC military regime ii. In 2000, sixteen high school students were mowed down by machine gunfire for peacefully protesting the death of a student under police custody, and the rape of another by military personnel iii. In 2003, there were more than a dozen suspicious poisoning deaths, both in and out of the notorious Mile two Central Prison iv. Since 1994, nearly two hundred Gambian political prisoners have died in Mile Two Central Prison of poor diets, unsanitary conditions, lack of medical care and torture v. In 2005, forty-four Ghanaian immigrants to Canary Islands were captured in Gambian waters and executed under the false pretext that they were mercenaries intent on overthrowing the regime vi. In 2005, the head of Gambia’s media and proprietor of The Point Newspaper, Deida Hydara, was assassinated as he left his office at night vii. In 2009, a contingent of the military personnel terrorized the country in search of witches; resulting in the death of dozen elderly men and women, and long term hospitalization of many more viii. In 2012, a contingent of police officers and military personnel conducted mass arrests and detention of gays and lesbians around the capital and neighboring cities and towns iv. In 2012, between nine and twenty-six prisoners were summarily executed by the regime before their legal remedies were exhausted x. In 2013, nearly half dozen Gambian dissidents were abducted from neighboring countries and returned to face incarceration and possibly even death xi. To date, thousands of Gambians have fled the country, including religious leaders, and a recent UN Report estimates that seventy percent of Gambian university graduates have left the country for safe sanctuary across Europe, the US and around West Africa. xii. In November 1994, more than half a dozen military officers were summarily executed for allegedly organizing to counter topple the illegitimate new military regime.   As horrifying as these atrocities are, they represent only a sliver of the mass human rights abuses, corruption and economic mismanagement woven into the fabric of Gambian society. The totality of the deeply troubling human rights abuses, endemic corruption and the pervasive economic mismanagement, have combined to necessitate the founding of the GCC and similar organizations in order to address the crushing rights abuses and pervasive mismanagement.

GCC Mission

 

Jammeh’s Removal is GCC’s Mission   Recognizing the severity of the human rights abuses and the prevailing chaos in government in Gambia, GCC’s singular and overriding mission is the removal of Yahya Jammeh and the AFPRC military regime. Working with a broad spectrum of like-minded Gambians, Gambia’s political establishment at home and abroad, international institutions, Gambia’s dissident military wing, and friendly governments around the world, GCC’s in collaboration with other protagonists in the dissident movement, will fight for the cause of restoring democracy and the rule of law in the Gambia by whatever means necessary. GCC shares the view that political change cannot occur in Gambia with the military regime still in power; consequently, the organization recognizes the five primary options available to the Gambian people in the struggle to effect political change. GCC holds the firm belief that the time to stand up and refuse intimidated by Yahya Jammeh and his regime; is now. Listed below are five options for the removal of Yahya Jammeh. i.          Outright military coup ii.         Forcible removal of the AFPRC military regime by a civilian led military coup iii.        Popular armed resistance to force the deadly AFPRC regime out iv.        Mass popular uprising led by the political establishment in tandem with civil society v.         Arrest  Yahya Jammeh, Isatou Njie-Saidy  and significant members of his cabal.   The decision of which option to adopt in order to force political change and the removal of the military regime from power dependents on the decision of a constituted “Transition Council” comprising representatives from each political party, civil society organization, unaffiliated Gambians, and professional Gambians around the world in the employ of foreign governments and  international institutions.   National Unity   A significant but ancillary component of the return to democracy and the rule of law in Gambia is the GCC’s proposed creation of a “Transitional Council” drawn from representatives from each political party, civil society organization, unaffiliated Gambians and Gambian technocrats and professional in academia, the UN system, ILO and the World Bank, among others. GCC proposes common causing among civil society, the political establishment both at home and abroad, and NRMG, to determine the course of action necessary to ensure the removal of the AFPRC military regime and the peaceful political transition in the aftermath of the military power. GCC recognizes the necessity of unity to speed up the return to democracy and the rule of law and facilitate the peaceful transition to civilian rule. In addition, GCC is resolved that every Gambian, regardless of their station in life, has a voice on how to return the Gambia to its democratic experiment. Equally important still, Gambians unaligned to any political parties or civil society organization are urged to make their voices heard through the multiplicity of the Gambia’s online radio and newspapers. The failure to engage in the Gambia’s ongoing political catastrophe will bring to life Plato’s timeless admonition that: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferior,”-Plato.   National Transitional Council/Government   For the purpose of creating a broad-based “Transitional Council,” GCC proposes a meeting in London, UK, during 2014 to be jointly chaired by Hon. Bakary B Dabo, and Dr. Momodou L Sedat Jobe. GCC proposes that each political party, civil society organization and the military wing of the dissident movement send representatives to the Transitional Council meeting in London. Additionally, GCC proposes allotting five or more representations to the proposed London Transitional Council meeting to Gambians unaffiliated to any political party or civil society organization and Gambian professionals around the world. A Transitional Council of between thirty and forty-five Gambians representing all the actors in the struggle, will elect, choose or nominate a maximum of twelve preeminent Gambians with moral fiber to run the affairs of state as a government until general elections that will return Gambia to normal party politics. The GCC proposes that the period of a Transitional government be pegged at between eighteen months and not more than twenty-four months. During this period of transitional government, political parties will be capitalized with assistance from friendly governments and international institutions to revamp and sell their programs to the Gambia people prior to national elections. Existing and new political parties will be provided equal opportunity access to the media, seed funding, and allocation of mobility resources to ensure their messages reach every corner of Gambia. The Transitional government, with assistance of friendly governments and institutions, will set up a Constitutional Review Committee charged with crafting Gambia’s democratic Constitution; a Constitution, which lives up the demands of the times; absolute and unfettered freedoms, respect of the rights of citizens and minority groups, and  an accountable civil service; among others. GCC holds the view that First Republic presents a perfect blueprint for a successful government model and GCC does not propose or recommend altering the basic structure and character of the government and civil service Gambia has now. The GCC agrees that both the Constitution and bureaucracy of the First Republic provide a recipe for success in governing and absolutely need no earthshaking changes to it are necessary.   Democratic Multi-Party Elections   It is expected that following the demise of the AFPRC military regime, new political parties may emerge from the ashes of the defunct dictatorship, in addition to the existing political parties. The Gambia, as a democratic country, encourages a multiparty system where no single party is permitted to electorally overwhelm the political arena, or dominate the National Assembly to the extent that the combined opposition becomes voiceless and powerless in the legislature. The multi-party system is the backbone of a democratic structure of government; as a result, the formation of new and the modernization of existing political parties is paramount to the maintenance of democracy and the rule of law. GCC, therefore, encourages younger Gambians who show little affinity for politics, to reconsider their oppositions, and instead participate in the noble and rewarding public service sector, be it in government or politics. GCC is unbending in its support of a two-term limit, and holding Presidential and National Assembly election every five years. During the period of Transitional government, and prior to the first post AFPRC regime general elections, GCC proposes that the Transitional government name a Constitution Review Committee and Government Reform Committee, whose work may continue after the elapse of the Transitional government and the return to party rule.   Conclusion   In conclusion, Gambia Consultative Council (GCC), is an interim meeting of minds organization with a common objective of returning Gambia to democracy and the rule of law. GCC is not a political party or a government-in-waiting and following fulfillment of the following conditions;   i. formation of a representative Transitional Council ii. the removal the AFPRC military regime iii. The institution of the Transitional government that oversees the rebirth of a multi-party system.   Once these conditions are met, GCC would have outlived its usefulness and shall, therefore, cease to exist. Mindful that GCC was founded solely to bring Gambians together under single unified force to use every means necessary to remove Yahya Jammeh and the AFPRC military, the organization can safely sail into the twilight of obscurity. As a final clarion call, GCC calls all political parties, civil society organizations, the military wings of the struggle, and unaffiliated professional Gambians, to jointly form a National Transitional Council to lead the struggle to remove the AFPRC regime of Yahya Jammeh from power and Gambia’s return to civilian rule. A conference for this purpose is proposed in London, UK, during 2014. Following the nomination of a thirty-five member National Transitional Council, the Council shall nominate a Transitional Government comprising of not more than twelve Gambians drawn from each political party, civil society organizations and Gambian professional from around the world, for a period not more exceeding twenty-four months and not lesser than eighteen months. The Transitional Government shall oversee the first multi-party Presidential and National Assembly elections. In other areas, GCC is of the opinion that the basic structures of government in Gambia, inherited from the First Republic, have been remarkably resilient to the abuses of the past two decades, and need minimal reform to be effective tool of governance. This, therefore, negates any urge to significantly alter the character of the government as it exists. In a final act, GCC beseeches qualified young Gambians, both male and female, to venture into the noble realm of public service to ensure the continuity of the Gambia’s democratic tradition. The Gambia needs you; the people demand it. END of GCC PLATFORM

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