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Cultural Week in jeoperdy? Leadership crises hits the Gambian community in Stockholm
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Cultural Week in jeoperdy? Leadership crises hits the Gambian community in Stockholm

The rift among members of the Organization of Gambians in Stockholm (OGIS) is widening, with both Louie Mbegu Sagnia and Mariama Cole claiming to be the organization’s legitimate chairperson. Gambians in Stockholm are now wondering if there will be any Cultural Week, this summer.

The Cultural Week traditionally takes place in June, every year. It was founded in 1975 and since then it's unquestionably one of the most popular and well attended Gambian gatherings in the Swedish capital.

In an email written by a former chairman of OGIS, Pa Sanyang appealed to Gambians to come together and help strengthen the organization. He disclosed that there will be a cultural week under the leadership of Louie Mbegu and he warned Gambians not to attend any other cultural week organized by what he called ‘private individuals.’

According to information reaching What’s On- Gambia, the whole crises started when former chairman, Eddy Conta resigned and handed over the baton to Mariama Cole.

A veteran member of OGIS, Sahir Drammeh claimed in an email that the election of Mariama was unconstitutional. According to him only ten people attended the General Meeting, in a city that is home to thousands of Gambians.

The last cultural week organized by Mariama and her team was clouded in controversy after claims that more than 70,000kr went missing. Former chairman Sanyang accused her of selling visitor visas at 110,000 dalasi each.

On the 28th April, 2013 some members of OGIS decided to form a breakaway group and elected Louie Mbegu Sagnia as the new chairman. Responding to this development, Mariama Cole wrote on the OGIS website:

“These people have created a false executive committee and have not only breached a number of duties as a member of our organization but have also committed criminal acts towards OGIS. We found out through our postal service that some of them went there in person and paid to change the keys to OGIS’s postbox. This OGIS, together with the post office, has reported to the police. The post office has also seen to it that the box is now in the proper hands of those actually representing the organization. The group did not stop their criminal actions there but took it further and went in person to our organization’s bank and withdrew a large sum of money from OGIS’s account with false documentations. This was mentioned to us at the meeting by the person who first contacted me about the electoral committee. How he knew this before us on the board he still has yet to say; however, we confirmed his statement with the bank the following Tuesday. This has also been reported to the police and they have together with the bank begun an investigation. We will update information about these cases as we get them reported to us.”

Now the two important questions are:

- Who is the legitimate chairperson?

- Will there be a Cultural Week?

More updates in our next edition!

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