Gambians in Italy celebrate regime change back home… but this could mean nothing to them

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Thousands of Gambians in Italy have been in celebratory mood since Adama Barrow, leader of the coalition of seven opposition parties and an independent candidate, has been declared winner of the 1st December presidential election in The Gambia.

For them, Barrow’s election is “a revolutionary victory”.

Andrew Gomez, a Gambian in Italy, said:  “The 1st December 2016 marked a new chapter in the political history of The Gambia.  For the first time a president is voted out freely in The Gambia.  This is a great.”

Similarly, Abdoulie Bah said:  “I left The Gambia since 2003 and could not go back due to many political misfortunes.  My family has gone through very difficult years with my brother in prison.  We all thought of a day like this but we never believe it will come this soon.  Now I am not a refugee anymore and I can’t wait to speak to my brother after 13 years.”

Many others declared their immediate interests to go back home and see their loved ones after a long period.  With the regime change, Gambians in Italy are calling on all those in diaspora to unite behind the Coalition government and invest in the country.

According to statistics, more than 25 thousands Gambians have entred Europe though the Mediterranean in the past three years.  Most of them are youth.

The incumbent APRC government is said to have compelled many Gambians to seek for either asylum or greener pasture outside.  However, more than half of Gambian asylum seekers in Europe are rejected a first go but most are later reconsidered.

For the fact that there is a new government, many Gambians in Italy have openly declared their intentions to go back home and invest.

Baba Camara said:  “My wish is to stay and work in The Gambia but this was not possible and that is why I am still in Italy for 15 years.  I have many things in The Gambia secretly but I would now want to claim them openly and stay where I am a citizen of.  I love it there in Gambia.”

Meanwhile, although Gambians in different parts of Italy continue to jubilate the change of government back home but the changes may really mean no or less asylum for Gambians in the nearest future.

And in the worst case scenario, all failed asylum seekers could be deported back to Gambia now that the regressive government back home is almost no more.  However, such deportation is easier said than done.

Author: Alagie Jinkang