Wednesday, 13 February 2019
The Gambia’s Independence Celebration Is Meaningless
The Gambia gained its so-called independence on 18 February 1965, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, with Elizabeth II as Queen of The Gambia, represented by the Governor-General. On 24 April 1970, it became a republic within the Commonwealth, following a second referendum.
The last time I checked Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory.
However, The Gambia as a country cannot claim to be an Independence State when self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-support, self-sustenance, self-standing, self-government and access to healthcare remain a mystery. After 53 years from the struggle of the so-called Independence. Yet still, The Gambia as a nation cannot feed her citizens and access to communication is a challenge in the 21 Century.
Meanwhile, Independence Day should not be a day of clapping, dancing, singing and to hold abundant ceremonial extravaganzas, which are of course footed by poor taxpayers. Instead, it should be a day of ‘‘National Thinking Day’’ to reflect on our achievements and problems as a nation, think about how to get out of these problems with our own strength and reward those who make an amazing contribution to the cause.
Furthermore, it should also be a day which calls upon the nationalism of Gambians. One thing, we do not do as a country is to reward those who in diverse ways contribute their very best, even at the expense of their life, to help move The Gambia in front. Independence Day puts too much emphasis on the colonizers who left decades and whose legacy we have not yet succeeded to improve upon.
I submit to us that; The Gambia may no longer be ruled by Britain. However, a number of its economic policies are dictated by donors such as China and the European Union to a tiny extent, international corporations who have imposed neo-liberal policies which are totally against Pan-Africanism. Some of the policies that have been adopted have increased economic growth, but that growth has not trickled down to the common man.
In conclusion, I will advise President Adama Barrow, the Commander-in-Chief to use the money budgeted for Independence celebration to buy equipment, ambulances for our sinking and failed health care for a better Gambia we want.