Is The Gambia Committee against traditional practices (GAMCOTRAP) all about Dr. Isatou Jarra Touray? Well, half of the GAMCOTRAP staff have taken leave of absence (sabbatical leave), following the announcement made by their Executive Director Isatou that she is vying for the presidency. GAMCOTRAP is virtually a nonexistence functional non-governmental organization at this hour.

DR. ISATOU TOURAY 1A quick google search about the NGO, revealed that the GAMCOTRAP website www.gamcotrap.gm can’t be reached at this point in time. There is no information about the NGO on the web. As soon as Dr. Touray, and her staff took a sabbatical leave, the NGO ceases to effectively function in The Gambia. The public is being denied access to online information about GAMCOTRAP activities. I was researching about the current board members of GAMCOTRAP, but to my chagrin the site was down.

It is not clear if the absence of the GAMCOTRAP website on the worldwide web was a deliberate move on the side of Isatou and her team to protect Company information, but what’s clear though; it is embarrassing for a person seeking the highest office of the land to leave such a retrogressive legacy at an NGO, she time and time claimed to have championed its cause.

We refuse to entertain any claim that GAMCOTRAP doesn’t have money to maintain its official website. If GAMCOTRAP Executives and its Board members can collect such hefty “paid leave salaries” how come that they couldn’t use the proceeds of the funds they received from their donors to maintain a functional website. This is absurd so to speak. Pathetic indeed!

Leadership is all about responsibility, and sense of direction. Isatou’s departure from GAMCOTRAP, has caused a void at an NGO, which has a history of championing women’s rights, the protection of the girl child, and women empowerment. It makes no sense for the top Executive Members of GAMCOTRAP to take “paid leave” at the expense of their donors, while leaving the office virtually dead. All GAMCOTRAP programs have been suspended for now while Isatou continues to gamble for her political bid for the Presidency. This is ludicrous. It is insane! GAMOCOTRAP donors doesn’t deserve such a treatment.

Isatou Touray, and her Executive members at GAMCOTRAP, who are now meddling in active politics ought to have resign from their respective positions if they want to be taken seriously by Gambians. You cannot kill two birds with one stone. Isatou wants to return to her high paying job at GAMCOTRAP in the event she fails in her Presidential quest. She and her colleagues are not sure about what the future holds for them politically.  They are some sort of political adventurists seeking to fill a disintegrated opposition vacuum.

Assuming that Isatou Touray got elected, which is virtually next to nil, she will turn around and resign from GAMCOTRAP, right? She would be associated with two jobs at the time of her declaration as the winner of the elections. Gambians, please let us embrace what’s morally right and acceptable. 

Isatou Touray is not been fair with Gambians. I do not think she respects the very people she wants to govern. If she does, she wouldn’t be maintaining a job at GAMCOTRAP. She doesn’t want to lose her Executive Directorship position at GAMCOTRAP. Period!

According to the online site www.accessgambia.com: “The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children  (GAMCOTRAP)  is a national, non-governmental feminist organisation  in Gambia (NGO no: A21) which was established in February 1984 and registered as a non-profit institution in 1997.”

GAMCOTRAP, said the website, “was founded at a meeting organized by the WHO in Dakar, Senegal, held between the 6 to 10 February 1984. The meeting was called the ‘International Seminar on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children’. The main focus of the seminar was to examine the various hurdles and issues women were confronted with regarding reproduction. These problems were seen to have a strong correlation to the different types of traditional practices performed on African women around the continent.”

Isatou Touray told Gambians on the very day, she declared her Presidential aspiration that she wants to serve for one five year term if elected into office through the backing of the existing opposition parties. But going through the history of GAMCOTRAP, since its registration as an NGO back in 1997, there hasn’t been any leadership changes at GAMCOTRAP. She continues to be the organization’s Executive Director. She is running a puppet board, who dares come up with a term limit for the position of Executive Director. Sadly, Gambians do not even know who the board members of GAMCOTRAP are. There is no available data available online to tell us the Board members of GAMCOTRAP. 

Democracy should begin with GAMCOTRAP  itself since her leader is calling for a term limit for the Presidency. How comes Isatou has been the De Facto Executive Director of the NGO for decades?  She never resign or allow others to lead the NGO. Does she mean that there are no competent Gambians at GAMCOTRAP, who can replace her? Come on…. We are not that stupid. The Gambia is not a land of idiots. 

GAMCOTRAP has been designed in such a way that the current Executive Director is not replaceable. Board Members have been pocketed. They are not free to initiate any internal changes at the NGO. He who feeds you controls you. This is the naked truth. 

Contrary to the widely believed notion that GAMCOTRAP is Isatou Touray’s baby, the idea of GAMCOTRAP was conceived by the then Women’s  Council,  headed by Fatoumatta Tambajang and others. It was later renamed as the Women’s Bureau. Isatou Njie Saidy, the current Vice President, has been instrumental in paving the way for the creation of GAMCOTRAP. She used to be the Executive Director of the Women’s Bureau.

Gambians should be concerned about the conduct of Isatou Touray and her colleagues at GAMCOTRAP. It is not fair for them to maintain their positions at GAMCOTRAP at the same time vying for the Presidency. This goes to show that Isatou and co will abandon their “supporters” and return to their offices once they fail in their Presidential bid.

It is like Mama Kandeh, saying that he will mend fences with Jammeh if he fails to win the Presidency. If that happens, all the GDC supporters will look stupid and dumb because they followed an adventurist, who was out to gamble for the position of the Presidency.  And this is exactly what Isatou Touray and co are doing at this hour. 

Isatou and her team will no doubt return to GAMCOTRAP on December 2nd if they fail in their political adventurism. These people are selfish. They want to kill two birds with one stone. They either become full time politicians or concentrate on their gender advocacy. It is unfair to take the suffering masses on a ride. Pure opportunism. Straight up!  We rest our case! 

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