President Adama Barrow is not only right to reverse any controversial or selfish decisions of his predecessor but he has also succeeded in shaming Yahya Jammeh, the man who unilaterally withdrew the Gambia from the Commonwealth of Nations. The admission of the Gambia into the Commonwealth, an organisation of mostly former British colonies, is meant to rehabilitate the country’s image abroad. As a smaller member of the Commonwealth, the Gambia had benefitted a lot from the organisation. Without going through Parliament, former President Yahya Jammeh who is allergic to criticisms of his government’s rotten human rights credentials, in October 2013 withdrew the Gambia from the Commonwealth without going through the Parliament.
In a statement, the Jammeh regime explained: “the government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism.”
British Foreign Office joined majority of Gambians in regretting Jammeh’s unilateral decision, which followed barrage of condemnations of the illegal execution of nine death row inmates in September 2012. United Kingdom too condemned the executions.
Elections everywhere have consequences, the Gambia’s December 2016 being no exception. The election of President Adama Barrow had put back smiles on the streets, restored dignity and ended Yahya Jammeh’s artificial international isolation. Everyone certainly knew the Gambia would break its International isolation, re-admit into the Commonwealth and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. These dreams have been realised.
After fiver years of absence, the Gambia’s flag is once again hoisting at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. The Gambia, the fourth country to rejoin the 53 member organisation, had its re-admit ancestors application unanimously accepted. In a statement, British Foreign Ministry acknowledged the West African nation’s re-admittance. “The Gambia is ready to regain its former glory on the international stage and reiterates its commitment to the fundamental values of the Commonwealth Charter. It is the fervent desire of this government that our membership to the Commonwealth will usher in an era of socio-economic development,” the Foreign Ministry statement added.
Gambian diplomats in London, including it’s representative Francis Blain, witnessed setting the seal on the Gambia’s return in Marlborough House. “The government and people of Gambia are ecstatic and overjoyed,” High Commissioner Blain said as he hoisted the Gambia flag.
He said the Barrow government has fully restored “democracy, good governance, rule of law, respect for human rights and the independence of the judiciary. Every effort will be made by the government to ensure that functioning of democratic processes in Gambia are scrupulously maintained.”