By Momodou Jarju
The Chairperson of The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO), has called on all non-state actors to be transparent and accountable to their stakeholders.
John Charles Njie made the statement last Saturday December 1st 2018, at a day-long open forum held at the University of The Gambia Law Faculty Auditorium, to mark the commemoration of National Democracy Day, under the theme: “Building and Strengthening Inclusive and Accountable Democracy and Good Governance in The Gambia.”
The day marks the second year of the 2016 presidential elections that ushered in a new democratic dispensation, ending the 22-year-rule that was characterized by tranny.
Njie said as non-state actors, ‘‘we must advise ourselves’’ also; “that it is good to point fingers at Government, but that it is equally fair to look inward and ensure that we right the wrongs within our rights. ‘‘We must guarantee that we are transparent and accountable to our stakeholders,” he told the gathering. Further delivering his written statement before a packed hall, Njie said their efforts in uniting all civil society actors, is slowly taking shape at bettering the country. He also urged non-state actors to work together, saying the days of running alone are over.
“Let us work together, leverage on our strength and experience, and come up with a more concerted approach of engaging with our Government. Together we are stronger,” he said.
He sent a staunch warming to some of their members who have partisan interest, to ensure that such interest does not jeopardize their integrity and that of their organizations.
“Civil society is non-partisan,” he asserted. Njie continued to commend the Ministry of Justice for their tireless efforts in engaging non-state actors in all the transitional justice processes.
“We have several engagements organized under the banner of TANGO with non-state actors, looking at various aspects of our national development. We are currently working together, to present a position paper for the Constitutional Review Process,” he said.
The Special Advisor to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Hussein Thomasi, representing Abubacarr Tambedou, said he will put forward the date to his Ministry for Government to consider it as part of the calendar for the country’s most significant political activities and developments; that at their level, they are doing all it takes to ensure that what transpired in the past, will never be repeated again. He continued: “Change is not revolutionary. It has to go through an evolution process.”
On his part, Madi Jobarteh of FOA Network, said at this point in Gambia’s history, people must understand the process of change; that history was made when former president Jammeh was ousted from power, through the ballot.
To this he said, Gambians have to actively participate in the ‘new Gambia’, to strengthen democracy.
Jobarteh urged Gambians to engage in peaceful, non-violent demonstrations, as the strongest tool of democracy.
Ousman Badjie of the Victims’ Centre, implored on victims of ex-president Jammeh, to register and report their cases to the Victims’ Center. He urged Government to uphold and respond swiftly to the demands of the victims.
The forum was organized by the Network on Freedom of Assembly (FOA Network) aimed at creating a space for Gambians to discuss where they came from, where they are and where they want to go as a nation.
Formed in November 2018 under the auspices of TANGO, the FOA Network is an association of civil society organizations and activists committed to the protection and promotion of freedom of assembly in The Gambia. The association seeks to sensitize citizens and public institutions on the right to freedom of assembly as guaranteed by Section 25 (1) (d) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia.