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A Blueprint for a Post-Jammeh Gambia

by Dr. Abdoulaye Saine

IntroductionYahya Jammeh's decision to carry out nine death sentences of forty-seven death-row  inmates on August 26, 2012, is outrageous! It is simply senseless! But Jammeh's rule and decisions have hardly made sense to most right-thinking individuals. These odious executions of death-row inmates, many of whom are political prisoners was intended to douse dissent in a population already fatigued by mounting economic hardship and subdued by extra-judicial killings.The flawed presidential elections of 2011 in The Gambia in which Yahya Jammeh 's every constituency in a landslide victory over a splintered opposition is a clear signal to all Gambians at home and abroad that Jammeh will never hold elections to lose them. Yet Jammeh will sooner than later find himself out of office either through a coup d'tat or, other means. 

This could also take the form of a foreign invasion, an armed mutiny within the army, or an invasion by armed Gambian militants from outside the country to drive Jammeh out of power.With the latter scenarios looking more and more likely, Gambians, and those in the Diaspora and especially those concerned about The Gambia's future have a moral obligation to think strategically and plan diligently in the likely event that Jammeh and his regime are no more. It is against this backdrop that Gambians must collaborate and thoughtfully plan for such an eventuality. Gambians must not be caught off-guard with their pants down literally. What is next?ObjectivesIt is proposed that Gambians form an with the explicit purpose of crafting a comprehensive plan or blueprint that spells out as precisely as possible a rescue plan for The Gambia and its embattled citizens. The blueprint's primary objective is to re-orient the country toward democracy, social and economic development, justice, and prosperity for all. The proposed blueprint, it is hoped, will address every sector of Gambian society- from governance to the economy. The Committee, following its formation, will break-up into several taskforces to begin the work of crafting specific policies to reform the key economic, agricultural, military and political sectors, so as to empower Gambians and their new leaders with a new vision to address The Gambia's many daunting challenges.MembershipThis Committee of Like-minded Gambians must be men and women of diverse backgrounds. They must also be of the highest personal/ moral integrity. 

All members, must as a result, subscribe to a code of conduct that would regulate the actions of members and those about to be recruited as members. The code of conduct should also provide a common frame of reference to ensure harmony, while encouraging the free expression and exchange of ideas.TaskforcesThe last seventeen years has seen deterioration in all sectors: agriculture, governance, including state organs, the bureaucracy/ civil service, military/ security forces, not even to speak of the economy and social relations among Gambians. It is hoped that the Committee of Like-minded Gambians will focus their energies on producing policies that are tailored specifically to address these sectoral concerns guided by the overarching questions- what kind of Gambia do we want and what kind of Gambian must our social and educational institutions produce to arrive at The Gambia we want?:The Taskforce on The polity will focus on: civil-society, state institutions, civil service the constitution, elections and term-limits, human rights, the military, etc).The Economy: model of development, agriculture, state-economy relations, foreign relations- the IMF/ World Bank, tourism, etc.Education: what kind of education for Gambians to meet development goals?Foreign Relations: Gambia's role at the regional, continental and global levels, what will they be?

Military: institutional reform and professionalism of army personnel to respect human rights of citizens and civilian control.Gender/ social Relations: address gender roles, ethnic relations/ inequality.Religion: address the role and place of religion in a democratizing, post-Jammeh Gambia.These are some of the many issues that a new government must address following the collapse of President Jammeh.National Strategy following Jammeh’s OusterThe Government of National Unity must reflect the national character to set the process in motion.A timeline of events leading to fresh elections must be agreed to and put in place. This timetable would include appointing a Committee to oversee these events and to:Reassure the international community of the interim-government's commitment to a peaceful democratic process and human rights,The Interim-government's unwavering commitment to an open-market economy with important roles for the state,

Drafting of a new constitution that would impose term-limits, reassess age-limits, among other things, by a truly Independent Electoral Commission by a committee of competent individuals,Assessment of all financial loans contracted under the previous government,Gradual release of all political prisoners,Universal amnesty of all exiles,Property Assessment Group to look into properties of Jammeh and his cohort of military, business and political supporters,Systematic investigations of alleged human rights violations,Begin the process of national healing and reconciliation,Holding of a national Conference to help determine national priorities and goals focused on the people/ farmers not the civil service and politicians,A process of rebuilding civil society organizations, state institutions, reform of the military must begin now, following the national conference that must be held within a year of the new interim-government taking office,Teams to educate the citizenry about the new changes,Campaigns leading to elections could begin six months before Election Day itselfRegistration of Gambian voters must begin a year into office, including Diaspora Gambians,Funds must be sought internationally to support the election processNote: This is a document in progress. Feel free to add, comment on this document. Add what you think needs to be added.