The Gambia Withdraw From CommonWealth, President Calls Colonials Extremists

The Gambia Withdraw From CommonWealth, President Calls Colonials Extremists


By Lanre Oguntoyinbo:

Yahya Jamal

The Gambia is to withdraw from the Commonwealth, 48 years after joining.

The west African nation branded the 54-member grouping, which includes the UK and most of its former colonies, a “neo-colonial institution”.

The withdrawal was announced on state TV, but no other reasons were given.

Two years ago President Yahya Jammeh accused the UK of backing his political opposition ahead of elections.

The UK said it would “very much regret” The Gambia leaving the Commonwealth.

There is a history of tension between President Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, and the UK.

Earlier this year, a Foreign Office report singled out The Gambia for its human rights record, citing cases of unlawful detentions, illegal closures of newspapers and discrimination against minority groups.

In August last year The Gambia was criticised by Amnesty International and others for executing nine prisoners by firing squad.

The Commonwealth was founded in 1931 but acquired its modern shape after 1949 as former British colonies and protectorates, including The Gambia, started to achieve self-government and varying degrees of independence.

‘Colonialism extension’

The grouping dropped the word British from its name and the allegiance to the crown from its statute and other independent nations joined.

In its statement, The Gambian government said it had “withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth”.

It said it had “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”.

The last time a nation left the Commonwealth was in 2003, when Zimbabwe withdrew.

The UK’s Foreign Office said: “Decisions on Commonwealth membership are a matter for each member government.

We would very much regret Gambia, or any other country, deciding to leave the Commonwealth.”

The Queen, who is 87, is the head of the Commonwealth, which holds its next heads of government meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, next month.

However, the gathering will be the first that the Queen has not attended since 1971. She is sending her son, the Prince of Wales instead, with Buckingham Palace saying she is making fewer overseas trips because of her age.

Two African countries have joined the Commonwealth in recent years.

Rwanda was admitted in 2009 after applying for membership the previous year, while Mozambique became a member in 1995.

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By Lanre Oguntoyinbo:

Yahya Jamal

The Gambia is to withdraw from the Commonwealth, 48 years after joining.

The west African nation branded the 54-member grouping, which includes the UK and most of its former colonies, a “neo-colonial institution”.

The withdrawal was announced on state TV, but no other reasons were given.

Two years ago President Yahya Jammeh accused the UK of backing his political opposition ahead of elections.

The UK said it would “very much regret” The Gambia leaving the Commonwealth.

There is a history of tension between President Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, and the UK.

Earlier this year, a Foreign Office report singled out The Gambia for its human rights record, citing cases of unlawful detentions, illegal closures of newspapers and discrimination against minority groups.

In August last year The Gambia was criticised by Amnesty International and others for executing nine prisoners by firing squad.

The Commonwealth was founded in 1931 but acquired its modern shape after 1949 as former British colonies and protectorates, including The Gambia, started to achieve self-government and varying degrees of independence.

‘Colonialism extension’

The grouping dropped the word British from its name and the allegiance to the crown from its statute and other independent nations joined.

In its statement, The Gambian government said it had “withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth”.

It said it had “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”.

The last time a nation left the Commonwealth was in 2003, when Zimbabwe withdrew.

The UK’s Foreign Office said: “Decisions on Commonwealth membership are a matter for each member government.

We would very much regret Gambia, or any other country, deciding to leave the Commonwealth.”

The Queen, who is 87, is the head of the Commonwealth, which holds its next heads of government meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, next month.

However, the gathering will be the first that the Queen has not attended since 1971. She is sending her son, the Prince of Wales instead, with Buckingham Palace saying she is making fewer overseas trips because of her age.

Two African countries have joined the Commonwealth in recent years.

Rwanda was admitted in 2009 after applying for membership the previous year, while Mozambique became a member in 1995.

************
Send your articles for publication to editor@paradigmshiftng.com. You can also send your eye witness reports, photos and videos to iwitness@paradigmshiftng.com

Click here to subscribe to The Paradigm Newsletter

Comments

comments

Share your thoughts

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