Friday, August 15, 2014

A "Struggle" of mixed messages

"The Struggle", as the dissident opposition groupings
abroad are collective known, specializes in sending mixed messages to the dictatorship in Banjul as well as to diaspora activists.

After some fits and starts resulting from opposition activities that saw a mixture of successes and failures in efforts towards a unified leadership, the recent Washington Hay Adams Hotel provided the needed push in that direction.

The Gambian dictator was successfully holed up in his hotel for an entire day that saw him miss the most important events ( necessarily from Jammeh's point of view) of the US - Africa Summit which were the Business Forum and the Round Table of Heads of State that discussed the way Forward for Africa.

The dissidents scored additional, and very critical political points, by causing the security details of the dictatorship to assault some protesters at the Hay Adams Hotel that drew national and international coverage.  This was a significant breakthrough because up to that point The Struggle can only claim occasional reference to its fight against Jammeh in the Senegalese press.

Instead of riding the wave created by the Washington protests, manufactured incidence of infiltration of "The Struggle" by spies immediately became a source of distraction.  Although the effort was squashed but not before some of the luster was taken off the victory at Hay Adams.  Some amount of finger pointing took place that was unnecessary and should have been avoided because most of the claims about spy infiltration turned out to be false.

Discussions of late has been around the Gambia's 1997 Constitution.  An inordinate time has already been spent, and a valuable online radio airtime committed, on a document that has been, and continues to be, abrogated by Yaya Jammeh and his regime to a point where Jammeh is the Constitution and the Constitution is Jammeh.  It should, therefore, be clear to all and sundry by now that to engage in this type of discussion is a futile exercise.  A more useful exercise would be to discuss what should constitution a successor Constitution.  That is a debate worth having, in our view.

We now hear that there is another proposal that would send a delegation to Banjul to open a dialogue with Jammeh which would require him to step down - a demand that is a non-starter.  It is, of course, perfectly within the rights of every person to say or do anything - even the ridiculous.  But it is also our right to say if we are to be taken seriously, we must put forward serious and well thought out proposals for the world to take us seriously.  No proposal of the serious nature expected of us will be tabled in the absence of the emergence of the face of The Struggle.

Using the background of the Washington Summit, the leaders of the various dissident groupings used their common desire to see the back of Jammeh, set their differences aside to work together.  It is hoped that a foundation has been laid upon which their efforts will bear the fruits of a United Front against the dictatorship. Anything less will only prolong the agony of Gambians in the face of an increasingly repressive dictatorship.