Editorial:SGDP Under Whose Services? Is The current SGDP leadership serious for real?

Musa Jeng,
SGDP President

A recent press release issued by the US based Save The Gambia Democracy Project (SGDP), on the arrest and detention of Journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh, raises more questions than answers. When we first received the press release, we started wondering if the author(s) were not imposters. We are for real brothers and sisters. There was no name affiliated with such an important protest letter. Secondly, the SGDP reaction came rather too late. Considering the magnitude of the crime their own colleague and sister in the struggle Fatou Jaw Manneh  has been accused of,  by the criminal Jammeh  Government, common sense should have prevailed for the leaders of this Organization to  act without delay and denounce her illegal arrest. It’s an undisputable fact that Fatou Jaw Manneh was instrumental in shaping the  affairs of the Organization that we today called the SGDP. For the SGDP to wait until the eleven hour to issue a protest letter without its Chairman’s name accompanying such a letter tells a lot about the Organization’s latest move to employ “silence tactics” on the current Gambian political crisis. For the SGDP to win the respect and admiration of the Gambian populace, most importantly its membership, the Organization should refrain from sending unsigned protest letters. Save the Gambia is an Organization and it’s misleading to send such alerts without an individual associated with it.

This is not the SGDP we used to know. The Organization was very active on Gambian local politics, but the situation today is the reverse.  Perhaps, the likes of Karamba Touray, Joe Sambou and Pa Samba Jaw can step in  and revive the Organization ,which used to be a  leading touch light in our nation‘s liberation from despotism.  As the situation appears, majority of its executive are kind of dormant. Reading the Gambia Post and other Gambian forums, one  is compelled to believe that Joe Sambou  is the Organization’s hero. Sambou never minces his opposition to the Jammeh Government  and its leadership flaws. We are not implying in anyway that the Organization lacks productive members, but the fact of the matter is that the SGDP needs a committed and dedicated new leadership. A leadership that is ready to engage the Jammeh government without fear of being identified. We are not by any means trying to smear the image of the organization or  to put its credibility under question. We believe that it’s about time, we make the SGDP accountable to its members, supporters and the Gambian public whom they claimed to  have been  fighting for their freedom over the years.

Yes, the SGDP has been supporting the Gambian opposition over the years, but what’s more important than their own former executive member, who contributed both financially and morally in the past to support such a worthy cause. We expect the SGDP current leadership to be pro-active in advocating for Fatou Jaw Manneh’s freedom and possible reunion with them sooner or later. Extending financial help for her legal defense alone is not enough.  The Organization should identify some of its officials to be updating the media about Fatou’s  plight at this hour. The organization should also be writing letters to the US government, human rights bodies, media watchdogs and other women rights groups in the Gambia to highlight the sinister plans hatched by the Jammeh administration to jail their colleague on bogus sedition charges. The silence stance employed by the organization would only undermine  its credibility and integrity in the eyes of the Gambian Community. Dr.Abdoulaye Saine, Sahou Mballow’s pro-democracy group and GPU USA’S Pa Samba Jaw have all signed their protest letters. We still cannot fathom the reason behind the  SGDP’S move to dispatch unsigned letter to media houses.

What happened to Journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh could happened to any Gambian perceived to be an opponent of the government of the day. The SGDP should be on the lead to fight Fatou’s case. We hope the Organization would read this editorial with an open mind to avoid being over carried by their personal emotions. We challenge the Organization’s leadership to defend their recent action of sending a press release without the Chairman’s signature or name. Assuming that the Chairman was indisposed to sign such letters, the least we expect from his colleagues was to delegate some one within the executive to hold brief for him. But there was nothing like that. Is the SGDP current leadership serious for real? Are they really concerned about Fatou’s plight? Why hiding behind  the fence, when you  have pressing problems confronting the organization?

To Journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh, we say continue to remain strong. We know for a fact that Jammeh’s hired mercenary magistrate Buba Jawo has already demonstrated his desire to jail you with his constant rulings in favor of the state. Jawo should bear in mind that posterity is here to judge his actions. Let justice guide his actions. Arresting and trying Fatou Jaw will not scare us. We are committed to the cause for Gambia’s liberation. Jailing, killing and torturing us  will never changed people’s mind on Jammeh’s bad policies. Free Fatou Jaw Manneh now!!!

On a final note, we call on the SGDP to help hire more lawyers to fight Fatou’s case. Jobarteh alone cannot handle the said case. The likes of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, Antouman Gaye, Borry Touray, Hawa Sisay Sabally and others should be involved in this case.

For the sake of the records, the case needs to be given the necessary coverage its deserved. Fatou Jaw Manneh deserves better. She needs your support and encouragement to survive the current nightmares she is going through. This is not the time for people to hide behind the fence. Lets tackle the dictatorship with true identities.!!! Just a thought.

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Posted on Sunday, April 22, 2007 (Archive on Monday, May 28, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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