Freedom of speech is such a beautiful thing to happen for anyone especially a people who have been deprived of it for nearly a quarter of a century. If our struggle as Gambians is to achieve anything, certainly freedom of opinion and expression should enhance people`s right to determine their destiny. Against this backdrop we consider it our right just like anybody else to respond to queries about us but without resorting to personal attacks; keep our arguments tidy and remain as focused as is possible.
In this rejoinder we follow Yero Jallow, the Samba Toksel of the Gambian struggle as he wages a frontal assault on NRMG and putting into question the noble intention of our Movement out to help rid the Gambia of self- perpetuating rule. We shall break down Yero`s malicious contentions in sequence to allow you, dear reader, a clearer insight into our argument against his. Let`s set the ball rolling.
Yero: “In the release as published on Freedom Newspaper, NRMG stationed itself as the main Diaspora civil society association.” “To many followers of Gambia’s politics, NRMG shot itself on the foot, limping like wounded warriors defeated from a fierce battle, from its ill-advised political move. This is not even a question as it is befittingly a conclusion for obvious reasons. One is left wondering what is left of the NRMG, which started from an announcement and has plunged itself into dirty mud with the latest announcement.”
NRMG: Did NRMG shot itself in the foot by coming up with a press release supporting collective tougher action against dictator Jammeh ? What is left of the NRMG is what has always been present – clarity and consistency. How exactly did the NRMG station itself as the main Diaspora civil society association? We think you see yourself in the mirror from a frightening hallucination, dreading NRMG as an obstacle to your ambitions. If by advising the political Parties to boycott elections with a dictator and demanding that Jammeh step down after 20 odd years in power is what you consider “plunging ourselves into dirty mud” and “ill-advised”, what then to you is not ill-advised?
Yero: Way back during its birth in March of 2014, the NRMG announced thus, “Against this back-drop the NRMG is prepared to take the lead in removing this illegitimate government from power by all means necessary. We urge partnership with all progressive forces in this struggle to achieve the ultimate objective, the removal of Jammeh the despot. Our aim is to restore democracy and the rule of law to the Gambia. To this end we herein extend invitation to all Gambians to help in liberating our land. As a group, we share in the philosophy a peaceful method of effecting change. That is the preferred option. At the same time we rule out no option should the political processes fail to yield the desired results” (Gainako Online Newspaper 3/12/2014. Culled from the web http://gainako.com/?p=4585)
NRMG: “We share in the philosophy of a peaceful method of effecting change. That is our preferred option. At the same time we rule out no option should the political processes fail to yield the desired results”. This has been our stance from March 2014 to present and this is the clarity and consistency we are talking about here. What then have we done differently this time? Again in your mind the obstacle to your personal ambition is NRMG, not even Jammeh.
Yero: Just weighing the transformation between the two stand points, it shows the real disconnect, even to where the top trios of the NRMG might have schooled themselves, but lacks the arithmetic of politics and its maintenance, at least in today’s Gambia. Even from its initial press release, the group promised that other members of its group were to be announced, and to date, no other member was announced except Binneh Minteh.
NRMG: Which two standpoints? You may be a better mathematician but have failed the logic test here. Where were you when our Holland chapter was created in July last when 4 Gambians came up publicly to take up responsibilities? So your assumption here about numbers and association is baseless and fabricated.
Yero: To be quite frank, at the time of NRMG’s birth, most people were a little skeptical, curious, and suspicious of the group formed by Gambia’s former soldiers, for example Pa Modou Ann (a brother of mine at close range) was a major, Binneh was a lieutenant, and Alagie Kanteh was a Captain and a onetime outspoken spokesperson of the APRC. For one, Jammeh who is now a rotten tyrant is a product of this group, and added to the fact, Africa’s history with military rule shows abuse of power, with many soldiers not properly trained who ends up being power drunks. With the trio all from top military positions some who may have even trained and led these soldiers, what have they inculcated in Jammeh and the remnants of their army soldiers? Two years ago, former GPU President and media guru, Demba Ali Jawo positioned that Africa’s military were good at brutalizing citizens but when it came defending the nation, they were nowhere to be found.”
NRMG: Quite frankly, we consider this a personal attack which fortunately bro, we have no time for. NRMG members have no record of brutality against Gambians and the majority of us were trained in world-class military Academies and school with distinguished records. Having said that we are no longer in the military and are all busy doing other things now including participating in the political process.
Yero: “During the NRMG’s inception, I personally supported their birth due to what was thoughtfully a military intervention approach to confront Jammeh through resistance movement. Another reason is the personable part of some its members from interactions over the years in activism which earned them respect.”
After listening in to our inception conference you concluded that it was a military intervention that we were advocating, to confront Jammeh and then afterwards you had provided all the logistics that would have gone into a project and yet we fail to act. Just let the public know how much you have personally contributed towards that. Crocodile tears are always easy to shed. Ask the families of victims of conflict where people sit within the comforts of their apartment and pushes other down the cliff by remote control. In fact you have never supported NRMG; you merely preferred to befriend the Movement`s leader pretending to be a supporter when in reality you had a different agenda. We knew you were on a mischievous landing and here you go bam. What opinion surveys have you conducted to gauge the level of public approval of NRMG? The respect of the people in NRMG has not waned one bit contrary to your erroneous misrepresentation.
Yero: “From their political toad-metamorphosis over time, they proved to be playing with political words, positioning themselves for power, come what may. Citizens whom the NRMG represents can now question: If NRMG didn’t have the military component or were not ready to confront Jammeh man-to-man, why didn’t they join CORDEG? During some of the press conferences, every citizen who witnessed it knows that NRMG gave us the impression that they were stripping Jammeh off power any time soon. People now see why NRMG refused to answer some specific questions relating to timelines in handling Jammeh”.
NRMG: Well Yero CORDEG is an umbrella organization in the Diaspora, membership of which is optional. It is up to us to freely cooperate with any one of our choice. You see Jammeh is not the only dictator by mentality, only that he has power to make bad things happen to good people. Some of us could have done the same or worse with the level of sadism betrayed in our pronouncements daily.
Yero: “…youths have taken charge of their destiny, a youth catalyst on touch down in no time. From the NRMG’s set-up, where its leaders positioned themselves to their positions in NRMG without public participation, and now offering itself as a mediating group will not go well with many citizens both at home and in the Diaspora, and that is to say, if you are representing Gambians, group leadership selections must be transparent and inclusive with citizen”.
NRMG: Oh, any Gambian or friend of the Gambia is welcome as a member of the Movement. What is not guaranteed is free flow of information. We select carefully who we assign responsibility. Yes we are not transparent for good reason nor will we ever be as long as the mission remains unaccomplished. Talking about the youth, good luck to anyone on this German Highway. What we do not have is the speed of “a catalyst touchdown in no time”. Nice to know you are on the move already to agitate change in the Gambia. In no time, meaning very soon we expect a Yero- Jallow- revolution. We compete with no one; we collaborate instead with all based on mutual interest – change for a better Gambia.
Yero: Did the U.S Neutrality ACT make NRMG change its military invention vision? Well, from all indications especially the ongoing trial of alleged coup plotters on December 30th in the Gambia, it cannot be ruled out as a factor, because two of its top militants in the person of Professor Minteh and Ann live in the U.S. But NRMG’s leader should have proved to be a commander in chief, to engage the U.S authorities and seek amendment of that unfavorable law (U.S Neutrality ACT) and seek a military intervention to dislodge the criminal ruler. That would have even convinced potential sponsors and citizens to see the NRMG as a serious political player.
NRMG: NRMG does not have a commander-in chief because it is not a government. A Head of State of a country is mostly the Commander-in-Chief of its Armed Forces. We are not men in uniform and we do preside over an Army; we are a Civil Society Organization by all intents and purposes. We are not bothered about the US Neutrality ACT because we are within our legal rights to advocate for change by all means necessary including the use of force. It`s left to the US to amend its laws not us; it does not change anything for us. The bottom line here, NRMG is prepared to help effect change in the Gambia by all means necessary including the use of force, a philosophy that has not changed nor will it ever change. That is our Anthem; you can take it to the Bank.
Oh well, history doesn’t fool or deceive citizens and those that try to play with history will also get wrapped in funny trap. The one time promising NRMG has now shot itself on the foot and it is wholly crippled. NRMG is done. It is up to its 4 leaders (with little or no constituency) to just tell people the full disclosures. The more they play political gymnastic, the more they expose the emptiness of the organization.That will not go well with their future political careers. To continue to hang on thinking a miracle will happen overnight is suicidal. It must be earned now, especially when Gambians are going through the hell that they are going through under a ruthless dictator. Please no more tickling! Citizens are tired of promising desert mirages and any time a tired distant traveler gets to a mirage, it became clear that it wasn’t a drinking fountain. Then all hopes are shattered and one is left dreaming again for long walks.
NRMG: By now it should be clear to the reader who is playing political gymnastics. Should forming a new organization come down to mud-slinging? You must be insulting the intelligence of the Gambian people. They are much better than you think. NRMG is not living to your personal expectation, nor will we ever.
In the end, the NRMG have a choice. They should restore the military intervention part to their agenda and convince international organizations and countries like the U.S with the “Neutrality ACT” to amend the unfavorable law and help uproot Gambia’s criminal ruler by all means necessary. If this is not possible, they should save their grace and future political careers by just joining the works of unity in the pipelines by the youths which have the potential of igniting a popular uprising to boot the tyrant out. By the way that NRMG is transforming, they are not an activist group, but a political party in the making. While the NRMG may be interested in liberating the Gambia no doubt, they also possess leadership interest. By that conflict of interest, they are not the right mediator as a civil society group, especially with the competitions they pose against other existing groups, some of which legitimized themselves by at least being inclusive in their leadership selections.
NRMG: You can do anything Yoro, including igniting an uprising, that is a choice for you not us. It appears you have a problem relating to NRMG, as if we are an obstacle to your plans. If NRMG wishes to transform itself into political party, you Yero Jallow have no power or influence over that. Thing is, there is something you are afraid of about NRMG which only you can explain.
Is NRMG Finish?