Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pres. Jammeh reduces Gambia’s independence to ‘a sham’

In April 1970, The Gambia became a Republic with President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara its first Head of State (Photo taken from Kissy Kissy Mansa)

The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has reduced to “a sham” his country’s independence that was attained from colonialists Britain on February 18, 1965.

“Our independence was achieved through the hard work of patriotic independence-minded citizens but that independence was a sham,” he said on the eve of The Gambia’s 49th independence anniversary.

This, according to him, is because Gambia’s leadership at the time “plunge our country deeper into the complete hegemony of the British Empire and therefore fail to bring about any significant socio-economic development.”

Following the declaration of independence in 1965, the British Monarch remained the Head of State of The Gambia until April 1970 when the country became a Republic with President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara its first local Head of State.

In 2011, Jawara told his critics: “To say my government hasn’t done any development is unreasonable. We did what we could under the circumstances." 

For Jammeh, The Gambia became “truly independent on July 22, 1994 from the exploitative hegemony of the ungrateful Kingdom of our former colonial Masters.”

He said his philosophy is that independence should have a practical meaning and in my words and deeds The Gambia will continue to stand tall among the world’s nations as a dignified proud country making sustainable progress based on self reliance. 

“For a country that was once labeled as a ‘hell hole on earth’ by former US President during the height of massive looting of our resources by our merciless colonial masters – we should definitely be proud of ourselves for the rapid development we have achieved so far during the past 20 years,” Jammeh said.

He has also warned Gambians “not [to] rely on the state for a disproportionate share of our welfare, rather, we must endeavour and be bold enough to take full control and responsibility for our own socio-economic advancement and that of our country.” 

President Jammeh came to power through a July 22, 1994 coup and has won all four presidential elections held in the country since 1996, some of which have been widely disputed. 

Written by Modou S. Joof

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