We love rules and procedures, perhaps, for the enormous effort it requires to adhere to them that gives us the feeling of accomplishment. It matters not even when the rules happen to be a mishmash of convoluted impracticalities that may act as impediment to the mission at the risk of invalidating the entire process.
“Keeping it simple" comes to mind. Call me naive and/or old school but the issues facing The Gambia may be complex to a degree, but no more so than any of its neighbors. Yet, Gambians love to complicate things while our neighbors seem to be doing just fine. We will pretend to be adopting democratic tools (like free and fair elections) to represent the values of democracy, a process we will manage to bungle, not necessarily because of incompetence but for our insatiable thirst to be all things to all people.
Last year, when we blogged that the size of the representation on the Executive of CORDEG was too large for our purposes, it was not taken kindly in some quarters, especially from the 'inclusiveness' crowd, some of whom are now being accused, wrongfully, in our view, of manipulating the elections to fit their individual agendas.
If the committee was kept at a reasonable size, yet still sensitive to the demographic and parochial interests which then elects a leader who will, in turn, select his/her team for presentation to the executive committee for endorsement by acclamation, they could have avoided a lot of the pain they are putting those good people through who are genuinely looking for effective solutions to Gambia's political problems. If you cannot entrust your CEO with the responsibilities outlined here, then you must search your conscience. Trust is so fundamental to making anything work.
We have also suggested that the political parties be excluded from membership of CORDEG together with ALL of their respective officials and members. UDP to UDP. PDOIS to PDOIS, PPP to PPP, GMC to GMC and MOJA-G to MOJA-G. All those who no longer wish to be associated with their former parties but are still interested in continuing to be politicians should either join existing parties or form their own. Perhaps the suggestion will be appreciated more after recent developments. CORDEG should be for the rest of those who are purely for civic empowerment, civic education and other non-political activities.
If CORDEG were kept simple, the current structure would not have been as top-heavy and redundant as it now appears to be on paper. Consequently, most would be out of a job if the structure were to be streamlined. Potential 'losers' in a restructured CORDEG will oppose the move which in turn will result in more leaks to the press leading to further acrimony.
Changes must be effected at CORDEG, the scope and magnitude of which can best be determined by the CEO and what’s left of his executive team. It seems to us that a ‘vote of confidence’ - whatever form it might take - should be among one of the options while there’s still some goodwill out there. The renewal of the Executive Team's mandate after such a dramatic configuration is a reasonable thing to do as a confidence building measure after such dramatic developments that have shaken the confidence of many who still believe in the process.
After all that has transpired is CORDEG salvageable? Yes, but…