A fund raising meeting geared towards opposition coalition campaign in the upcoming December 1st presidential election in the Gambia was conveyed yesterday in London. The meeting was also aimed to put together a diaspora strategy and campaign in a sustained effort to get rid of Yahya Jammeh regime and all its elements in the Gambia.
In attendance were a cross section of diaspora Gambians from all across London. These are seasoned political commentators, economic analysts, and observers of Gambian society over several decades and months. The meeting was witnessed by participants of both sexes, young and old.
The meeting was opened with a prayer and after which the chair of the meeting, Mr Malick Kah began to thank all the participants for taking their time and effort in attending this worthwhile event despite the cold weather in London. Mr Kah went also thank Mr Abdoulie Jobe for a great job he had done in organising the venue of the meeting.
Meanwhile, Mr Kah used the occasion to stress the role of the leaders leading the opposition coalition.
According to Mr Kah, “‘The Dream Team’ from Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, O.J, Halifa Sallah, Dr Isatou Touray, Hamat Bah, the flag bearer himself- Honourable Adama Barrow, amongst others gives us confidence and hope. These are men and women of ethics and standards, of good judgement and experience in how democracy work and how to run a country.”
He also addressed the cynicism that exists among some about whether an election can change the Jammeh regime. “We have to kill the fear, the day we kill fear Jammeh is out the next day. What we have seen at rallies on the campaign trail gives us hope and confidence. The thousands of people turning up to hear Mr Adama Barrow and the alliance speeches is evidence that victory is in sight. However, the people must come out and vote. Everyone here must urge their families and friends to come out and vote on December 1st, Mr Kah Stressed. Mr Kah used the occasion to urge everyone to contribute towards Gambia Democacy Fund (GDF) or any fundraising event geared for the coalition. The funds gathered are what is running the coalition campaign and to provide logistics such as campaign posters, vehicle hires, mobile phones etc.
Meanwhile, Mr Abdoulie stressed the importance of such meetings, “it is important that we hold these meetings from time to time and try to unite. Unity is very important in any process you are involved in, especially given our situation in the Gambia.
According to Mr Jobe, “the pain on our people back home is high and for us in the diaspora we are suffering too. Our families look to us, they depend on us for their survival too. The real fight begins on the day after the election as Yaya Jammeh may not leave on December 2nd, however, we must be organised and plan ahead. He has managed to divide us and used that weakness against us. Not anymore and this is why we must unite and prepare for the real fight ahead the day after election, Mr Jobe advised.
In his turn, Mr Saikou Saidily known as ‘Honest Gambians’ on social media, buttressed the points made by the previous speakers and warned that “There is lots of euphoria around the coalition, however, we should be mentally prepared to battle with Jammeh if he refused to leave office come December 2nd. It’s not easy fighting a rich dictator, we know he might hijack the election, but another 5 years of Jammeh will be catastrophic for Gambians.” Honest Gambians stressed the need for a national umbrella group here in UK uniting the various groups into one. A solid group advocating action, not a reactionary.
In her turn, Mai Kanyi spoke on the importance of women’s participation in this struggle, “It is true that any event or organisation without the participation of women cannot and will not succeed. I know there are women out there who are shy, or perhaps wanting to visit Gambia and that has stopped them taking part. However, we should all care about the human rights, and to see Gambia move forward and as a result, we should all put our selfish interest and come out and participate in the struggle against Jammeh.”
Mr Omar Kolley also spoke on the importance of unity and to unite behind the coalition and the parliamentary elections. He said, “Yes, Jammeh has all the state machinery at his disposal – the army, police, secret agents etc. He also has the central bank at his disposal, and this is why is so important we support the coalition through GDF or any sister organisation.”
“Parliamentary elections are coming up, these are very important too for the kind of people we want in our parliament. We must not be silent or inactive. Listening to statements by Mr Barrow, Halifa, Mai Fatty and others shows clear a contrast to Jammeh. Change comes from the people, so people must turn up and vote come December 1st. The coalition is meant for everyone, every tribe, and every citizen. There is an equal stake, because the Gambia belongs to us all, Mr Kolley stressed.”
In his brief speech, Mr Ansumana Ceesay the editor of Gambia Voices, have spoken about people having the belief that when they do what is expected of them, which is to cast their votes for Adama Barrow Allah will take care of the rest. He further mentioned that it’s futile for people to participate in a process you don’t believe it will yield any result for you and as as result, Mr Ceesay urge people to have faith in the process and be ready to take over the government from Yahya Jammeh.
Also in attendance was Mr Bakebba Camara of CDC, who also spoke on the importance of unity, “With the challenges facing our country, it will be hard to succeed if we fail to unite. Victory is in sight, although history has shown many times the outcome of leaders who lost the election and refuse to leave office. We are confident of victory, but elections are expensive and it is hard work, and all must contribute. Mr Camara also sent a message to the security forces, “Security forces, you suffer more than most. The army you are suffering and same with the police so be civil with your fellow citizens. They are your brothers and sisters. Don’t kill yourself for the dictator, he is on his way out. Be wise Mr Camara warned.”
The GDF representative at the meeting, Lieutinant Kejaw Touray spoke about the formation of the GDF and the vital works the organisation is doing to effect the necessary change in Gambia. He said, at some point the various political parties were in needs of funds to operate, but they were not forthcoming, so this necessitates the formation of the GDF. “Our aim in setting up GDF was to set-up a mechanism to help provide logistics and funding for that effect. I urge and encourage people to visit the GDF go-fund-me page @ https://gofundme.com/2016-gambia-coalition and donate.
Meanwhile, Mr Siaka Jatta commented on the importance of people active participation in the election process, not least to take note of the number of registered voters and polling stations your area. This will help counter any irregularities and vote manipulation by anyone, including the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Mr Jatta also warned people not to be complacent and become inactive, he said people should be proactive and take the initiatives to help the coalition win the election and liberate the Gambia. This information can be obtained from the IEC’s website @ http://www.iec.gm.
Similar remarks were echoed by other speakers who urge unity and communication amongst the diaspora. They urge people to believe that the coalition is on course to win, but only if electorates to vote for Adama Barrow. Mr Gibril Saine one of the organisers, gave a vote of thanks and urge people to participate in getting rid of Dictatorship in the Gambia. Mr Saine also announced and urge people to come in their large numbers in London on December 5th to celebrate the impending opposition victory.
Report by: Mr Ansumana Ceesay and Gibril Saine