As much as we are spending time fighting the old, I respectfully submit that we must devote, equally as well, some time to plan to rebuild anew. There is an old saying along the lines like “put your money where your mouth is”, or something like that. So, I am ready, willing, able and capable to put my money where my mouth is. But, like many of us, I am not going to put my money where that money is not used for its intended purposes, or misused. Every dollar of my money is hard earned with blood, sweat and tears.
The struggle in the Gambia and for the Gambia is not a business venture. And some of our people are living in the Gambia with barely two meals a day, much more three meals a day. Our people are suffering while we are here, spending months or years wrangling back and forth on how to proceed, much more on how to take that Monster out.
Since we are having diasporan entities disguised as “companies” to remove that Monster, we might as well form a REAL COMPANY to help with the rebuilding process after Monster Jammeh is out of the picture.
So, this is what I am proposing: I will volunteer to put $10,000 (Ten thousand Dollars), more or less as dictated, to help rebuild The Gambia, post-Monster Jammeh. This money can be used to form a company here, legally of course, with Articles of Incorporation, and so on. We can call this company Gambia Investments Abroad (GIA), or whatever is deemed appropriate and fitting. And we will elect two trusted individuals who would incorporate this company, oversee and manage this company. These two people recommended must be trust, worthy individuals, with a great sense of service, honesty and dedication. I must quick to add that there are many people out there, so picking two would not be a difficult task.
I must, repeat, MUST make a disclaimer here that I will not seek nor will I accept any position, both within and outside the Gambia, and both before and after Monster Jammeh. I am doing this for our people, and at my own expense. NOW, I call on all these diasporan entities to match and or beat my offer.
I must make clear that this is just my proposal. There are many more people out there with other ideas on how we can rebuild. And so, we all must welcome and exchange ideas.
The task of this company will be like a dormant mutual fund on standby, ready to invest and help rebuild the Gambia, as soon as democracy and stability are restored there. There must be safeguards as well in these Articles of Incorporation and in the company guidelines to protect investors’ funds should “things
fall apart”, and or the atmosphere in the Gambia is not conducive to operate the company for the purposes it was created for.
Now, assuming that democracy and stability are restored in the Gambia, say in the near future, say within few months, or a year or two, how do we go about rebuilding? Yes, true, we will secure and get international funding to help rebuild post-Jammeh, but wouldn’t it be prudent, wise and helpful to know that a band of Gambians, under this company, has taken the initiative to pre-empt the rebuilding efforts? Yes, it would be.
My point is this: once this company is created and headed by these two trusted individuals, they will issue stuff like shares to its “investors”, so that way we can ensure greater transparency and accountability. For example, if Abdul Savage reports to the public, or to anyone in private, that he invested $10,000 in this company to the public, then he must be able to provide and or show share certificate(s) to substantiate that claim. And if hundred people reported $1000, or $2000 each in investment in the company within a quarter, and the company, in its quarterly publication, discloses that it only receives $5000 in contributions, then there is a discrepancy somewhere. Accountability and transparency are the safeguards to this enterprise.
And I must quick to add that out of these company funds is where these trusted individual selected to manage it will get paid. They will not, and we do not expect them to do it, for free. This is a venture to help rebuild our country, while simultaneously all of us will continue to do whatever is it that we are doing to further our goal to liberate the Gambia. We can continue to plan, strike and all, while simultaneously we create this company.
So, NOW, since I am willing to put my money where my mouth is, I hereby invite all others, particularly such entities as NRMG, DUGA, GCC, CORDEG, and others to put their money where their mouths are. Let each one of these entities send in to these two trusted, selected individuals $10,000 or more, so that these two trusted individuals can create and develop such a company, poised and ready to invest to help rebuild the Gambia post-Monster Jammeh.
We will write checks and send them to these two trusted, selected individuals and guarantee that these checks will not bounce. Or better yet, we can Western Union or wire transfers such funds.
And so, I invite all to put our money where our mouths are, no matter how little that money is. If people are asked to contribute $10, $20 or so, here and there, why not direct those funds to rebuild the Gambia to one entity, instead of having entities all over the place seeking funds, while disguising as “civil societies”.
The struggle in the Gambia and for the Gambia is not a business venture.
Yes, true, many of these entities in the diaspora movement might be currently running at a loss, since some are newly created, and that they are probably yet to secure enough contributions to offset the expenses in terms of time, and resources, already put into them. And if this trend of them losing continues, we will cease to hear from them or about them.
My contention is this: you cannot take from the poor and give to the rich. But you probably can take from the rich and give to the poor. Many of us are fortunate in so many ways than most of the people we are asking to “gofund me”, with $10, $20, $50 or $100, or more or less. And some of these people are living in the Gambia with barely two meals a day, much more three meals a day.
Yes, true, it involves costs to run these entities, but why can’t these leaders take it upon themselves to foot the bill, than seek $10, $20 or more in contributions from people who are probably less fortunate than us? And at the end of the month, they probably wouldn’t even get $2000 in contributions from these people. And we all know it takes resources, money, that is, to undertake the task of removing Monster Jammeh from power, by democratic or forceful means. We need to stop kidding ourselves, and be brutally honest with each other.
Accountability and transparency is a crucial and vital part of any entity, be its task is to liberate a nation, or operate a business, or run a movement or manage an enterprise.
Further, I observed that many of us have already started jockeying for positions, fame and glory post-Jammeh. That is all good, well and dandy. Some are even saying others would make great permanent secretaries, Ministers, heads of civil service, media personalities/moguls, and what not. True, this is all good and well, but not at the expense of Gambians suffering.
We must not set ourselves up to fail post-Jammeh. Instead of having companies disguised as entities, or movements, why not have “one true company”, to be run, managed and overseen by independent, like-minded and trust-worthy individuals? Of course, if some feel the need, we can have all these movements, but when it comes to funds to help rebuild the country all those funds must be directed to preferable one entity, instead of entities all over the place, competing for funds from people.
The day of rebuilding post-Jammeh will come. There will be lots of jockeying and all for positions. However, if we take a pre-emptive strike in the efforts to rebuild the Gambia post-Jammeh, we will be step ahead of the curve.
We will have to create investment and job opportunities, especially job opportunities. Last economic date I got estimated unemployment among the youth in the Gambia at over 70%.
We all know Gambia is a consumer market. So, how do we go about rebuilding? I, personally, don’t know how we will go about rebuilding, but if I would add my infamous two-cent, then here it is: Keep in mind that this is just me putting something on the table, all of us will put our own individual two-cents, and at the end of the day, after all is said and done, we might have a dollar. So, here is my two-cent, subject to scrutiny and criticisms, of course:
We know Gambia has sand, in fact, plenty of it. And we know glass is made from sand. This company, post-Jammeh, will invest millions of dalasis to create and develop a glass company, using our abundant natural resources of sand. Then, you ask, where is the market for glass? We all know that, from the business point of view, sometimes we have to create the market for whatever product we intend to
market, if there is not already a market for it, and with our hard-word, dedication and all, we will succeed. And another VERY IMPORTANT aspect of this is creating job opportunity and employment, hence contributing to the livelihood of many Gambians. We will have to create jobs and opportunities
Glass could be produced in the form of windows, mirrors, doors, signage, and many, countless more other glass-related products that could be used in the construction industry, agriculture industry and many other industries. And as we develop this company, the products could be exported to neighboring countries. In a matter of couple years, we will have a dominant glass-making company in the Gambia.
Also, another investment and job creation opportunity this company can invest in is the milk-production business. Milk products are derived from cows, sheep, and goats, and I do believe these animals Yaya Jammeh has stacked up for us pretty good, so post-Jammeh, why not use these products this Monster has stacked up for us?
And milk can be marketed under a brand, in tins, gallons or what not, and sold locally as well as exported to neighboring Senegal and beyond. And believe me, there is already an abundant demand and market for milk products in the Senegambia region and beyond.
So, once again, I appeal to NRMG, DUGA, GDAG, CODERG, GCC, and others to send in $10,000 or more each to create a company in the form of a fund, created by Gambians for Gambians, ready to help rebuild Gambia post-Jammeh.
$10,000 or more from these entities and me, and funds from many more people or entities would translate into millions and millions of Dalasis that would come in handy to help rebuild and develop our shattered economy, and create jobs and other opportunities for many.
Like I have always maintained, the above is my two-cent worth of observation, and so, as such, I now stand ready to take all the criticisms, accusations, insults and all, that are going and will be leveled against me.
By Abdul Savage
Retired, US Army
Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart
Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
MR ABDUL SAVAGE IS A RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE HIS OWN AND MAY NOT REFLECT THOSE OF NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS AND ITS PARENT COMPANY THE GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL AND ITS AFFLIATES.