The Gambia has pulled out of the 54-member Commonwealth grouping whose members mostly consist of Britain and its former colonies. The economic and political grouping is headed by Queen Elizabeth II of England.
“The government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution, and will never be a party to any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,” the government confirmed in a televised statement.
The Jammeh regime’s Wednesday statement also branded the Commonwealth as a “neo-colonial institution.”
The Gambia, the smallest country on mainland Africa, had been a member of the Commonwealth since it attained independence from Britain in 1965.
The former darling of democracy, human rights and the rule of law had enjoyed cordial relations with Britain.
However, a forceful takeover of a democratically elected government by a disgruntled group of soldiers in July 1994 was the beginning of bad blood between the Gambia and the West, particularly Britain. The former junta leader – now a military-turned-civilian President – tasks himself with blaming the colonialists of the Gambia’s underdevelopment. President Yahya Jammeh even used his address at the United Nations to throw punches at colonialists.
It is certain that the decision to pull the Gambia out of the Commonwealth has been decided by President Jammeh who singlehandedly run the affairs of the country. In a real democracy, such decisions would be put to vote by the parliament.