No to the Candidature of Mamadou Tangara for Commonwealth Secretary General- Madi Jobarteh 

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara

By: Madi Jobarteh 

I wish to hereby express my total and strongest opposition to the candidacy of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamadou Tangara for the position of Commonwealth Secretary. In this regard I hereby call on the Government of the Gambia to not support his candidacy but to look for a suitable Gambian of impeccable character who has made real contribution to the development of the Gambia.

Mr. Tangara has distinguished himself only as a key enabler of Yaya Jammeh and his misrule of the Gambia. From July 1994 to January 2017, the Gambia was gripped in pain and misery perpetrated by the AFPRC and APRC regimes led by tinpot dictator Yaya Jammeh. Since 2012 when Tangara was first made minister for foreign affairs and later Gambia’s representative at the UN, this man had stood with the dictator all the way knowing full well all the atrocities committed by that dictator.

As foreign minister Tangara promoted and defended the Gambia Government before the world when he quite well knew that there was tyranny in the Gambia. Not only was Yaya Jammeh flouting the Gambian Constitution and other laws of the country as he liked, but also Jammeh was violating international laws ratified by the Gambia thereby failing to fulfill Gambia’s international obligations with impunity. Regardless, Tangara represented that dictatorship to the hilt by defending and legitimizing it before the world hence empowering it at home and abroad.

For example, in her testimony before the TRRC, the former president of the Gambia Press Union Ndey Tapha Sosseh who was forced into exile in Mali by the dictator narrated how Tangara had come to Bamako as a special envoy of Jammeh to seek her extradition. Certainly, the Malian authorities refused to extradite the lady. We also know that in 2013 Tangara confronted Gambian activists and dissidents in New York when they protested in front of the hotel where Jammeh stayed for the UN General Assembly. If Tangara had conscience, he should have resigned right there to join those dissidents and activists and not fight them in favor of Yaya Jammeh.

Rather Tangara held the fort for Yaya Jammeh until December 2016 when he was sacked by the dictator when he joined fellow diplomats to ask Jammeh to concede defeat. Should a person of conscience and patriotism wait until the dying days of a tyrant to ask him to resign? By that time Jammeh had already lost power and could not do anything because he lost the election. Any rational person would have realized that Jammeh was sinking already and therefore it was meaningless to ask him to resign anyway. Tangara should have known better not to even join that regime in the first place because by 2012 Tangara already knew that Jammeh was already a bloodthirsty, evil, and corrupt tyrant.

Hence Tangara has not done anything good for the Gambia but only to benefit from the country. At the most difficult moment in the life of Mother Gambia, Tangara decided to join and stay with her destroyers. Even the assassination of Deyda Hydara did not prick Tangara’s conscience not to join that regime given his association with Deyda. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tangara has not done anything to provide direction and purpose to this important office. Rather under his watch the incidence of corruption and misconduct by officials in Gambian embassies and missions around the world have gone unpunished. This is why former Vice President Alieu Badara Joof rightly questioned the objective of the Gambia’s foreign affairs, noting that even foreign policy does not exist.

Meantime Gambians continue to be deported from Europe and America just like that. Similarly, it was Gambian activists and organizations that had stood with Gambian women suffering or trapped in the Middle East to repatriate them. These organizations and activists had a hard time in obtaining the support and cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in those instances. This goes to show that Tangara is inefficient and does not have the best interest of the Gambia at heart. Therefore, why should Tangara be supported by the Gambia to continue to go higher? Just because he is the current foreign minister is no justification for the Government to support his candidacy when he has not delivered as expected. What is evident is that Tangara uses public office only to benefit himself at the detriment of the people of the Gambia.

Therefore, I hereby call on The Government to look for a fit and proper Gambian with the ethical and professional standing and track record to represent the Gambia. We need someone who has the courage and commitment to go to the Commonwealth to effect necessary positive changes to that organization. It is absolutely clear that Tangara, given his performance so far, will not and cannot engineer reforms at Commonwealth to make it a better modern and instrumental entity especially for countries like the Gambia and Africa as a whole.

For the reasons above, Tangara does not have my support and will to hold any Gambian public office ever again more so to represent the Gambia outside. I hereby stand against his candidacy, and I call on Pres. Adama Barrow and his Government not to support Mamadou Tangara for the position of Commonwealth Secretary General. I hereby demand Pres. Barrow to make a call and seek a suitable Gambian expert based on a set criteria and process of identifying such a person. Those who plunder public office must not have any second chance in public office.

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