“Since coming to power in a military coup d’etat in 1994, the regime of Yahya Jammeh has increasingly become repressive and dictatorial. With each passing year and as the prospects of a peaceful transfer of power becomes illusive, violent confrontation become more likely. A case in point is the December 30, 2014 event when a group of Gambians from the diaspora took it upon themselves to overthrow the regime by force.   After extensive consultation with Gambians, many have voiced the need for a unified structure for what some have come to characterize the “struggle” to a democratic Gambia,” a leaked document forwarded to the Freedom Newspaper by an anonymous source has stated.  

Sidi-Sanneh-According to the document “Rather than passively wait for events to unfold in The Gambia, a group of nonpartisan Gambians, called the New Gambia Blueprint Group chaired by Mr. Sidi M. Sanneh has come together to develop a roadmap document aimed at ushering in a new era of prosperity in The Gambia.  This document details multiple strategies and plans for the peaceful removal of Yaya Jammeh from the helm of power in The Gambia.”

“The document also includes a framework for handling the aftermath of the fall of the Jammeh regime from power.  The Executive Summary of the Blueprint will be made available to interested folks in the coming weeks.  A central objective of the roadmap is the formation of a non-partisan group, the Council of Elders (CoE) to guide the democratization process. The Council of Elders will be tasked to: i) engage opposition leaders in the Gambia with objective of nominating a coalition candidate in preparation for the 2016 Presidential Election; ii) lead the opposition’s international engagement effort; and iii) work with civil society organizations in the diaspora to strengthen and revitalize civil society in the Gambia.  We are reaching out to you for your support and help in identifying potential candidates for the Council. The plan is to review nominees starting February 29th install the Council soon after so it can begin its mandate in earnest,” it added.

Attached is the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Council for your review and inputs.  We thank you for your time. 

Sincerely, Malanding S Jaiteh (for The New Gambia Blueprint Group)

Terms of Reference of the Council of Elders

Introduction There is concurrently a rapidly expanding opposition to the regime of Yaya Jammeh both within and outside The Gambia.  As evidenced by the attack on State House in December 2014, some of the opposition to the Jammeh regime is willing to use violent means in order to depose him.  The above factors point to a high risk of the development of calamitous events that will adversely affect The Gambia.   In the event of an unplanned removal of Jammeh, various scenarios can potentially develop:

1) An immediate takeover of the country by various factions of armed forces 2) A conflagration of fighting amongst various groupings based on tribal affiliations  3) A takeover by the current Vice President  In the Gambian tradition, it is the role of elders of the community to shoulder the burden of mitigating risk and bringing about peace.  

Accordingly, this document, part of the New Gambia Blueprint Project, is meant to provide the framework for the formation and operation of a Council of Elders (CoE) to shepherd the country towards a brighter future. Selection Criteria The Council of Members (CoE) will serve as a moral authority for the movement towards democracy in The Gambia. Members of the Council will be identified and selected through a consultative process with the various civic society organizations and political parties and religious groups in or outside the Gambia.

The Council will consists of nine (9) respectable members of their communities with thorough understanding of Gambia’s social and political landscape. Key Qualifications Members to be selected into the Council of Elders shall meet the following criteria 1) A Gambian citizens of respectable standing among their peers and community with excellent communication skills (oral and written) and ability to effectively engage in high level diplomatic negotiations. 2) Must be holder of a valid passport/travel documents and able to travel internationally   

Key Functions of the COE 1) To engage the Gambian opposition leaders towards the formation of a united front to participate in 2016 Presidential and 2017 National Assembly Elections 2) Lead Gambian democratic movement’s effort to engage the Senegalese, ECOWAS and international authorities in the implementation of a Blueprint for a new Gambia 3) Work with Gambian civil society organizations to develop and implement a strategy to revitalize a vibrant civil society in the Gambia through civic education, community organizing and empowerment.

Below is the full text of the document.

……………………………………

TERMS PART ONE

TERMS PART TWO

TERMS PART THREE

Word Version of The Document: 

February 4, 2016

Dear Sir/Madame

The New Gambia Blueprint Group wish you and everyone at the Gambia Youth for Unity (GYU) a very fruitful year 2016 and pray that this letter finds you in good health and spirit.

Since coming to power in a military coup d’etat in 1994, the regime of Yahya Jammeh has increasingly become repressive and dictatorial. With each passing year and as the prospects of a peaceful transfer of power becomes illusive, violent confrontation become more likely. A case in point is the December 30, 2014 event when a group of Gambians from the diaspora took it upon themselves to overthrow the regime by force.

After extensive consultation with Gambians, many have voiced the need for a unified structure for what some have come to characterize the “struggle” to a democratic Gambia.

Rather than passively wait for events to unfold in The Gambia, a group of non- partisan Gambians, called the New Gambia Blueprint Group chaired by Mr. Sidi M. Sanneh has come together to develop a roadmap document aimed at ushering in a new era of prosperity in The Gambia.  This document details multiple strategies and plans for the peaceful removal of Yaya Jammeh from the helm of power in The Gambia. The document also includes a framework for handling the aftermath of the fall of the Jammeh regime from power.  The Executive Summary of the Blueprint will be made available to interested folks in the coming weeks.

A central objective of the roadmap is the formation of a non-partisan group, the Council of Elders (CoE) to guide the democratization process. The Council of Elders will be tasked to: i) engage opposition leaders in the Gambia with objective of nominating a coalition candidate in preparation for the 2016 Presidential Election; ii) lead the opposition’s international engagement effort; and iii) work with civil society organizations in the diaspora to strengthen and revitalize civil society in the Gambia.

We are reaching out to you for your support and help in identifying potential candidates for the Council. The plan is to review nominees starting February 29th install the Council soon after so it can begin its mandate in earnest.

Attached is the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Council for your review and inputs.  We thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Malanding S Jaiteh

(for The New Gambia Blueprint Group)

Terms of Reference of the Council of Elders

Introduction

There is concurrently a rapidly expanding opposition to the regime of Yaya Jammeh both within and outside The Gambia.  As evidenced by the attack on State House in December 2014, some of the opposition to the Jammeh regime is willing to use violent means in order to depose him.

The above factors point to a high risk of the development of calamitous events that will adversely affect The Gambia.  In the event of an unplanned removal of Jammeh, various scenarios can potentially develop:

1)  An immediate takeover of the country by various factions of armed forces

2)  A conflagration of fighting amongst various groupings based on tribal affiliations

3)  A takeover by the current Vice President

In the Gambian tradition, it is the role of elders of the community to shoulder the burden of mitigating risk and bringing about peace.   Accordingly, this document,

part of the New Gambia Blueprint Project, is meant to provide the framework for the formation and operation of a Council of Elders (CoE) to shepherd the country towards a brighter future.

Selection Criteria

The Council of Members (CoE) will serve as a moral authority for the movement towards democracy in The Gambia. Members of the Council will be identified and selected through a consultative process with the various civic society organizations and political parties and religious groups in or outside the Gambia. The Council will consists of nine (9) respectable members of their communities with thorough understanding of Gambia’s social and political landscape.

Key Qualifications

Members to be selected into the Council of Elders shall meet the following criteria

1)  A Gambian citizens of respectable standing among their peers and community with excellent communication skills (oral and written) and ability to effectively engage in high level diplomatic negotiations.

2)  Must be holder of a valid passport/travel documents and able to travel internationally

Key Functions of the COE

1)  To engage the Gambian opposition leaders towards the formation of a united front to participate in 2016 Presidential and 2017 National Assembly Elections

2)  Lead Gambian democratic movement’s effort to engage the Senegalese, ECOWAS and international authorities in the implementation of a Blueprint for a new Gambia

3)  Work with Gambian civil society organizations to develop and implement a strategy to revitalize a vibrant civil society in the Gambia through civic education, community organizing and empowerment.

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