Alkali ContehThe leadership of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in the Gambia (CORDEG) has been accused of deviating from the Raleigh Accord as well as antagonising  the opposition.

Mr. Alkali Conteh, whose Gambia Democratic Action Group (GDAG) pulled out of CORDEG, said the Committee did not only deviate from the Raleigh Accord but also expanded its mandate, flout the term limit and ended up antagonizing the opposition political parties on the ground.

Mr. Conteh used a panel discussion on Kairo Radio to advance the reasons why GDAG threw in its towel from CORDEG last week. He cited many reasons, including abuse of office, lack of respect or ethics within CORDEG all contributed to GDAG’s withdrawal.

GDAG Chairman said CORDEG’s relations with opposition parties is clearly stipulated in the Raleigh Accord. He said the Accord mandated the “Steering Committee to identify and work with groups, organizations and institutions that are engaged in the struggle to promote democracy, good governance and the rule of law. The Committee shall serve as a link between the opposition movement in the diaspora, political parties, civil societies and the media on the ground to promote the agenda for change.”

Mr. Conteh said CORDEG’s supportive role has been spelt out in the Accord. Conteh added that the Raleigh Accord does not define CORDEG as “an umbrella or parent organisation that is going to meet down on other organisations and give instructions and direct them what to do and what not to do.”

Conteh said the attitudes and statements inside CORDEG have both indcated marginzation of the opposition parties. “We have completely marginalized the political parties. When Mai Fatty [leader of opppsition Gambia Moral Congress] withdrew from CORDEG. We agreed to discuss with him and bring him back. The whole idea is about coalition building,” he said, adding that the withdrawal of both GMC and National Reconciliation Party must not.”

He said efforts to engage with Mai Fatty proved futile simply because “CORDEG Secretary General Abdoulie Jobe who was delegated to negotiate with Mai said “to hell with these politicaians and political parties. I am sick and tired of them. That is not the right attidude, especially from a person who was set up for negotiation. Mai’s letter was leaked to the press, purposely to throw sand in the works – to make it impossible. That was the firt CORDEG leak.”

Conteh explained that GDAG “recognises the fact that the regime in banjul has emasculated the free press, bar association, labour and student unions.” As such, he said, the opposition parties are the only formidable entities that have got some spine to fight a dictatorship.



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