Gambia: An urgent call for a grand political coalition to preserve democracy, justice, accountability, peace, and national cohesion

Mr. Jeggan Grey Johnson, R2K
Mr. Jeggan Grey Johnson, R2K

Dear Colleagues:

Please find attached a statement (OpEd) from the R2K-Gambia on the recent political merger of the APRC and NPP.  Key messages in the statement include:

–  A call on all the opposition parties to form a grand coalition to oppose the  Jammeh-Barrow candidacy.

– A shared victory will unite the country, reduce the polarization in our politics and the possibility of a contested election result.  More importantly, it will also prevent the culture of impunity now being entrenched by a Jammeh-Barrow alliance and instead promote transparency, accountability, justice, and good governance.

– A fractured opposition plays into a Jammeh-Barrow strategy, elevating their chances for re-election and ushering in a full circle and a return to autocracy, tyranny, kleptocracy, and impunity (as uncovered by the Janneh Commission and the TRRC). Gambians rejected these unacceptable traits in December 2016, only to see a total reversal under an APRC-NPP alliance five years later.

– The logical and moral response must surely be a united opposition. – – By failing to unify and have multiple candidates corral vigorously behind one presidential candidate, we risk handing victory to president Barrow, and by extension, to Yahya Jammeh under the current first-past-the post-elections rule; something that the CRC 2020 draft constitution would have addressed.

– We have reached that moment when the national interest must take precedence over each party’s interest and each party leader’s ambition.

– On the ballot on December 4 is the choice between the restoration and merger of a corrupt, authoritarian, and incompetent regime that Gambians rejected on the one hand; and, on the other, the forces of democracy, pluralism, and progress that the opposition parties represent. The stakes could not be higher for The Gambia in the near term and for generations unborn.

-R2K is willing to establish a working group to engage the political parties to convene an exploratory meeting to discuss the conditions under which they could form a coalition.



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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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