Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Gambia Marks 50th Anne

Jammeh inspects parade Wednesday at the national stadium in Bakau (Photo Credit: Independence Golden Jubilee Official/Facebook)
The Gambia, a tiny west African country known for being a popular tourist destination and, of recent, allegations of poor human rights record, today marks its 50th independence anniversary.

The country gained independence from Britain on February 18, 1965 but maintained the Queen as Head of State, it attained republican status on April 24, 1970. Some Gambians argued that the later date is when the country became "truly" independent.

Its first president of 30 years, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara was toppled in a coup on 22nd July, 1994 by current leader of 20 years, Yahya Jammeh.

Jawara, who steered the country into a "multiparty democracy and respect for rule of law" has often been criticised of doing little to improve the development of the country.
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." 

While Jammeh has been hailed for bringing in "massive" infrastructural development, he is often accused of rights violations by activists.
Jammeh had said The Gambia became “truly independent on July 22, 1994 from the exploitative hegemony of the ungrateful Kingdom of our former colonial Masters.”
President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana and a host of representatives of other countries including Senegal's prime minister were in attendance.

In a statement, Jammeh reiterate his commitment to turn the least developed and highly-poor-indebted country into an "economic super-power."

The Gambia is among 13 countries to receive recognition for achieving outstanding progress in fighting hunger, an award from the Food and Agricultural Organisation

On December 30, 2014, an armed group led by former State Guard Commander Lt Colonel Lamin Sanneh attacked the presidential palace in Banjul, the capital overnight – with heavy gunfire that lasted hours.

The 'coup attempt' regarded a 'terrorist attack' by the state resulted in the deaths and was repelled. A waves of arrests of civilians and military officers followed.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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