We now have sense of direction

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Gambia was living in a solitary confinement in the crowded field of international relations over the past two decades like a man wondering without a sense of purpose in his life.

But today, we have a better sense of direction. Thanks to the leadership President Barrow, the country is regaining its lost glory in the international relations.

We are back to the Commonwealth – a move that was greeted with joy and honour. “The Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth family is fantastic news. When I visited the country last year, I saw huge enthusiasm for the values and opportunities offered by our modern, diverse Commonwealth,” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom said.

Mr. Johnson said he would be very much hope to welcome President Barrow to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London in April. This is international relations – a situation where a country builds solid and mutual relations with other nations based on mutual respect and mutual interest.

We need a leader who gains us respect and authority at the international platforms but not someone who goes around insulting every leader and every nation in the name of Pan-Africanism.

Today, we are more respected than 22 years ago. Today, we are more heard at the international platforms than 22 years ago because the leadership we had was based on self-aggrandizement and self-protection for personal interest.   

The minister of Foreign Affairs Lawyer Ousainou Darboe is right when he opined that Yahya Jammeh was going to remove The Gambia from both UN and ECOWAS if he had won the election. Considering his past records and how he viewed these bodies, he was capable of just doing more than removing the country from these institutions.

Jammeh had nothing but harboured a deep seated hatred against global institutions, accusing them of being neocolonial institutions; knowing that they were watching on him; his rhetoric, killings and tortures, which he knew could one day serve as evidence against him in Hague or elsewhere.

This is evident when Foreign Affairs Minister Darboe said that before Jammeh withdrew Gambia’s membership from the Commonwealth, they were pushing for the establishment of the Human Right Commission and he didn’t listen to them.

“He did not want anybody to look into his human rights record; that the commission would be one avenue through which the performance of his government’s human rights issues could be looked into.”

Citizens of this nation particularly journalists can today proudly walk around without any fear of mysterious disappearance. Foreign investors can come and invest in this country today without the fear that they would have their wealth and materials confiscated.

We want to live in a nation where the rights of citizens and non-citizens are respected and protected, and if there is anything that Barrow’s government achieved, it’s the fundamental rights of the people that are respected.  

“In international relations, in foreign policy, a great deal has to do with historical circumstances, a great deal has to do with the sense and perception of people.”
Salman Khurshid