Gambia marks 54th Independence Anniversary

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Gambia yesterday marks its 54th years of nationhood at a colourful ceremony held at the MacCarthy Square in Banjul. It was on this day in 1965 when the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom, making it the last colony of Great Britain’s West African colonies to do so.

It also became the 21st member of the Commonwealth to still pledge allegiance to the Queen, and the 116th member of the United Nations.

The road to independence, however, was not an easy ride and we must salute all those who play a part in making sure that the country attains its sovereignty. The day, therefore, marks an important day in the political history of this great nation. It is like individual ‘birthday where everything in life started.

An erudite Gambia historian says independence as the name sounds means a lot for any country. It’s after a country attaining its independence, it can write its own laws, make its own decision, open embassies in other countries, while before independence everything was dictated from London even our dalasi.

But what is more reassuring, is the powerful statement delivered by President Barrow, calling on all to see the day stocktaking,  challenges and progress since the attainment of nationhood.

Independence, he said, is not just about self-rule and freedom from foreign domination; most importantly, it is about freedom of thought and action, leading to our growth and progress as individuals, families, communities, organisations and as a nation. We want to reiterate the fact that independence should not only be seen as a day of celebration and jubilation.

We want to thank Mr. President for his articulated and well apt statement, coming at a time when the country is healing after decades of dictatorship.

It is therefore, incumbent on all patriotic citizens to synergise our efforts and engage in nation building as a united force. We must also undertake or engage in independent, critical and constructive thinking and action, grounded in sincerity, honesty and the desire to improve living conditions in the country.

“The reclamation of our freedom should equip us to redefine nationhood and patriotism as genuine Gambian nationals. We must love our nation, and sacrifice in times of need and distress. To this end, we must redefine and embrace nationalism to give it a humane character,” Barrow stated.

More importantly, it is essential to develop a deep sense of belonging to ‘our motherland, and commit ourselves to the ideals and values of the nation. We have proven that when we stand united in the cause of the nation, we can achieve a lot.’

“It was by one Union that we achieved our independence and liberties, and by it alone can they be maintained.”

James Monroe