The Commonwealth is a voluntary grouping of 54 countries, mainly former British colonies. The Gambia had been a member since independence in 1965. However, President Yahya Jammeh in August last year announced a withdrawal, describing the institution as neo-colonial.
“The Commonwealth membership had brought noting to the country,” said Seedy Njie, a nominated member who laid before the Assembly a motion for debate on the two books authored by President Jammeh.
The two books which followed the wake of the withdrawal are titled: Million Reasons To Leave the Commonwealth and How the Tragic Consequences of British Looting and Misrule in The Gambia Inspired the Founding of the United Nations and Its drive for Decolonisation: January 1943 and Beyond.
“The messages in the books are very clear,” said Mr Njie. “They explain extensively how colonial hegemony contributed in no small measure to the underdevelopment of The Gambia. Even a former president of the United States of America, Franklin D Roosevelt, bemoaned the poor conditions of Banjul during the colonial era. The British care less about the plight of the people of Banjul despite the fact that locals paid taxes.”
The Member for Tumana, Netty Baldeh, who seconded the motion, condemned what he called, “the double standards of world powers”. He said: “Our culture and religion do not tolerate homosexuality. Who are we to accept something forbidden by God?”
The majority leader and Member for Serekunda East, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, in his contribution affirmed that The Gambia remained unbowed and “no amount of pressure will make us to give up our sovereignty. There are so-called democracies that do not ratify the Rome Status that creates International Criminal Court. The Gambia is part of the global village and we are ready to partner and work with anyone irrespective of our difference but… based on respect for our sovereignty and independence,” he said.
Another nominated member, Babou Gaye Sonko, who doubles as the ruling APRC youth leader, said: “We should challenge the British and bring them to book for looting our resources and for the destruction caused by colonial activities.”
The deputy speaker, Fatou Mbaye said: “The two books symbolised an ideology of democracy, good governance, democracy and human rights. The Gambia has enjoyed rapid socio economic development within a short space of time and what had been a hell-hole on earth is becoming a city state.”
The first ordinary session of the National Assembly continues today.
By Sainey Marenah]]>