|Gambia democracy conference in North Carolina - OJ & Dr Sidat Jobe (Photo credit: Demba Baldeh/Facebook)|
The opposition, People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, PDOIS, on Wednesday, sum-up its absence at The Gambia Conference on Democracy in North Carolina, to two things.
That is, the opposition in The Gambia had to arrive at a consensus on the way forward, likewise, The Diaspora also had to meet and develop a consensus on the way forward.
Held in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA from 18- 20 May, 2013, The Gambia Conference on Democracy and Good Governance was meant to deliberate on strategies and tactics on how to effect peaceful change in the West African country.
However, the PDOIS said prior to the conference the opposition in The Gambia had to arrive at a consensus on the way forward at the meeting or convey the wrong impression that they are so divided that they could not forge a “United Front” for Democratic change.
“The Diaspora also had to meet and develop a consensus on the way forward failing which opinions could be so divided at the meeting that the way forward could become illusive,” the party’s Secretary Halifa Sallah stated in a letter to the organisers.
In a May 22, 2013 statement, he said: “We envisaged that once the two consensuses are independently built the holding of a joint Diaspora–Opposition meeting to harmonise them into a National consensus would become feasible.”
In the absence of the above, PDOIS said its Central Committee therefore resolved that it was not prudent to be a part of a “brainstorming exercise” on the way forward – that has the potential of exposing divisions rather than “bridging the strategic and tactical divides” on the way forward.
The organizers, The Gambia Democratic Action Group (GDAG), Save The Gambia Democratic Project (SGDP), and the Democratic Union of Activists (DUGA), described the two-day conference as the beginning of the journey to fixing “The Gambia’s broken democratic and governance system”, according to media reports.
Opposition leaders Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party, UDP, Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party, NRP, and Omar Jallow of the Peoples’ Progressive Party, PPP, attended the conference.