By Tabora Bojang
The minister of tourism Hamat Bah has categorically stated that government does not support granting of automatic citizenship to anybody.
Speaking at a presentation and business round table meeting with visiting North Miami county mayor and delegation Wednesday, Minister Bah said government has a responsibility to make the atmosphere conducive for people to live, work and invest but would also do the needful to preserve its small land.
“Citizenship has to go through a legal process in this country. Secondly we are one of the densely populated countries in Africa. We don’t have the land other countries have so we therefore need to preserve this country. From the start I have made it very clear that we do not support automatic citizenship for anybody in this country. If you want to be a citizen of this country there is a process that you need to follow. Yes you can be an investor, live freely and happily in this country and enjoy your investment,” he added.
Mr Bah went on: “We try to preserve the small size that we have but also try to accommodate everybody who comes in. Therefore you are encouraged to come to our country.”
The minister’s comments are the first hints given as to the stand of the government on the matter of automatic granting of citizenship to non Gambians.
In the recent years there have been a sustained campaign for African nations to grant citizenship and land to people from African descent returning from Europe and America.
His comments will be welcome by many people who believe that any unchecked granting of citizenship to foreigners in the name of encouraging investment often leads to the loss of land from the indigenes to foreigners.