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Why PDOIS was not present at Raleigh meeting

May 28, 2013, 9:14 AM

The PDOIS received a letter from the organisers of the RaleighConference inviting the Secretary General of PDOISto a Conference to be held in Raleigh North Carolina from the 18th to 20th May aimed at deliberating on strategies and tactics on how to effect peaceful change in The Gambia.

The Central Committee of PDOIS met to review the invitation and came to the conclusion that two preliminary steps are necessary before such a meeting could take place in a manner that would yield the desired results of a national consensus on strategies and tactics for peaceful political change. First and foremost, the opposition at home had to arrive at a consensus on the way forward at the meeting or convey the wrong impression that they are so divided that they could not forge a United Front for Democratic change. Secondly, the Diaspora also had to meet and develop a consensus on the way forward failing which opinions could be so divided at the meeting that the way forward could become illusive.

Thirdly, we envisaged that once the two consensuses are independentlybuiltthe holding of a joint Diaspora-Opposition meeting to harmonise theminto a National consensus would become feasible after the consensus at the Diaspora meeting is circulated and reviewed by each opposition party and discussion held among themreach a consensus before the National Conference.

The Central Committee therefore resolved that it was not prudent to be a part of a brainstorming exercise on the way forward since it had the potential of exposing divisions rather than bridging the strategic and tactical divides on the way forward.

The Central Committee expressed its commitment to bringing about electoral reform that would restore the second round of voting, a term limit and level ground for multi party contest to effect democratic change as has happened in Senegal or Ghana failing that the opposition should build a wave like in Banjul for one Independent candidate to face the incumbent to bring about the necessary change and preside over a one-term transition to a genuine democratic multi party system.

Hence the Secretary General was instructed to transmit the following letter to the organisers.

15 April 2013

Dear Compatriots

I have been asked to convey to you the deep admiration we have for those of you who spared no effort in sacrificing time and resources to bring sovereign Gambians together to reflect on the past, present and future of our country. We applaud your initiative and wish you utmost success.

It is important to convey to you that PDOIS is already part of an initiative which requests for the mediation of Reverend Jesse Jackson. We would like to exhaust this initiative in order to draw final lessons on what strategy and tactics we are to adopt to address the issue of democratic change in The Gambia. It is our humble opinion that it is irrational to travel across continents just to deliver such a message.

It is our humble opinion that every sovereign Gambian has an equal right to be the architect of our destiny. We could argue over strategy and tactics but should respect each person’s right to participate in determining the outcome.

After a careful review of your invitation it is deemed wise, right and proper to propose a different approach. It is proposed that the May meeting be transformed into a dialogue between Gambians of all political shades resident abroad with a view to reaching external consensus on the way forward. The resolutions could then be forwarded to the political parties at home for review in preparation for a dialogue between the political parties and the Diaspora which could be held at a later date.

Each political party would have adequate time to address the meeting and put its proposal across to promote consensus building.

While trusting that you will give due regard to our proposal, please allow us, dear compatriots, to convey to you the assurance of our highest consideration.

Yours in the Service of the people

Halifa Sallah

For the Central Committee

This is how matters stand.

Issued by

Halifa Sallah

Secretary General