“The Gambian Association of Michigan is a non-political body,
which shall not endorsed any political party.”
The statement quoted above is the one liner that executives of the Gambian association of Michigan bandied around every time they are confronted about their penchance to censor speech they don’t agree with. It is true that the said sentence is part of the by laws of the association.
However, what they failed to understand is that the sentence is self-explanatory. It simply reminds folks that the association as an entity is apolitical. What it doesn’t say is that members of the association are bound to be apolitical. Therefore they reserved the right to freedom of speech and political affiliation.
Scrutinizing the role of government vis-à-vis…the rule of law, its application judiciously or lack thereof, taking the government to task for failing in their most fundamental duties (the provision of security for it’s citizenry) as Cherno Baba did on the pages of Michi Gambia do not fall under the endorsement of a political party. He was doing what any good citizen with his gift (the ability to write eloquently) should do. Having written critically of the First republic and the current government, I trust that Cherno Baba will do the same in the event that any future government tramples on the rights of the citizenry or fail in their duties…to secure the lives and liberties of the governed. That my friends is not political endorsement, but accountability.
Another point that makes reference to this by laws bogus is the after the fact nature of the executives reaction. The executives knew about this flimsy provision in the by laws when they carved up a spot on the website for Cherno Baba to opined. They knew his writing style and pedigree and now they want us to believe that his opinions on the running of a country we all call home tantamount to endorsing opposition politics no matter how substantive and truthful the issues are that he is opining on in his columns.
The last week has taught me a great deal about the executives of the association. They take opinions critical of them personally and act accordingly irrespective of the consequence. They are not the most humble bunch and they tend to think they are not in need of much outside input or advice. But some have been more receptive than others, and there is a (gradually) growing recognition of the value of the blogosphere, not just in terms of its passion and numbers but also the level of substance and seriousness with which debate and analysis occurs here.
Restricting my ability to post on Michi Gambia mailing list will be detrimental if I don’t have other avenues to express my outrage. But thanks to the blogosphere and other Gambian electronic media, such as allgambian and Gambia post, hundreds of our compatriots all over the world have read and form their own opinion on the absurdity of the stance taken by the executive of Michigan Gambian association.
I bear no ill feelings against the association as an entity and will defend it against any ill begotten negative campaign. However the executive will be well served by taking to heed Voltaire’s comment that: “It is not enough to conquer; one must also know how to seduce”.
The executive decision to restrict me from posting to Michi Gambia mailing list has been lifted . I think it is fair that my readers be updated on this development. No quid pro quo is involved. I will continue to opine on issues I care about and will not hesistate for a second to let the executive know how I feel about any decision and/or action they took that I don’t agree with.