Jul 14, 2008, 7:53 AM
The Government of the Gambia Wednesday night issued a statement calling on Libyan leader Colonel Maummar Gaddafi to spare the lives of Libyans by stepping down immediately.
The statement on national television, which covered the current crisis in the Middle East and Ivory Coast, was read by Dr Njogu L. Bah, Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service.
Government blames Gaddafi for not only betraying the trust of the African people, but of his own people by working against them, stressing that the show of ingratitude for the love and support Libyans gave him for 42 years warrants that he must go.
The statement, among others, lambasts the leadership of the African Union for neither making a statement nor taking action, despite the fact that these were uprisings affecting member states of the African Union.
On Tunisia, the government appealed to the Tunisian people to reconcile and settle their remaining difference peacefully, and that not all issues can be solved by violence. It called on them to give the interim government a chance, to reconcile the people and organize elections.
On Egypt, the Gambia government praised the armed forces for stepping in, thereby avoiding what could have become a nasty bloodbath in Egypt. Government also praised the Egyptian people for accepting the intervention of the army, thereby bringing an end to violence and unrest.
Among others, the statement also called on Western powers to return, immediately, what it called stolen properties and assets frozen by them to their countries of origin.
For the benefit of our readers, we reproduce the full statement of the Gambia Government, outlining its position on the current crises in Africa:
"The Government of the Gambia hereby informs the general public of its position in respect of the current situation in Northern Africa. It is a big surprise, but a shocking reality that in all the happenings, beginning with the crisis in Tunisia to that in Egypt and now Libya and countries in North Africa, the leadership of the African Union neither made a statement nor took action, despite the fact that these were uprisings affecting member states of the African Union.
"It is the Gambia Government's expectation that the least that the AU could have done is to convene an extraordinary meeting to discuss how we as Africans can handle the situations in these countries, and avoid bloodshed and loss of lives.
"The unacceptable silence of the AU is giving way to other powers outside Africa to make statements, and take decisions affecting and concerning African countries. We believe that the AU and, in particular, its African Peace and Security Council whose role is to ensure peaceful settlement of matters, should have been responsible enough to live up to its mandate and responsibility, especially in light of the fact that, in the AU, we have all the organs that can be used or applied to handle all situations affecting member states.
"The AU cannot shy away from its core responsibilities, to the extent that they became blind to the level of bloodshed taking place in Africa. The AU should not, and cannot play second fiddle, in situations as we now see them happening on the continent.
"Consequently, we are calling on the AU and its leadership to live up to its mandate and responsibility, by taking the lead to solve these crises, and bring peace and stability to Africa.
"If we fail to take care of our affairs, people from elsewhere would be obliged, as we have now seen, to take decisions on our behalf. The fact that the AU has not even called up an emergency meeting of ministers of Foreign Affairs, since the crisis started in Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya, is very worrisome for an institution that is supposed to secure and defend Africa's interest.
"If the AU cannot stop the carnage taking place in some of its member states, then it cannot be in a position to bring in a continental government capable of lifting Africa out of abject poverty and under-development. Whether black or as Africans, we are all Africans without discrimination.
"With regards the crisis in Libya, we regret the massive loss of lives, which is uncalled for and unnecessary. Given the unacceptable scale of violence in Libya, we hereby call on Colonel Maummar Gaddafi to spare the lives of Libyans by stepping down immediately.
"Colonel Gaddafi has been given early warnings, for the past six years, which he blatantly ignored. Furthermore, not only has he betrayed the trust of the African people, but of his own people by working against them.
"Gaddafi started showing his true colours that he is a racist and anti-African immediately after the lifting of sanctions against Libya. And when his relationship with the West started warming up, the first sign of his ungratefulness was his declaration that any passport of any holder that does not bear Arabic writings will not be issued a Libyan visa, forgetting the prominent role that Africans played in defending Libya at the United Nations over the Lockerbie case.
"He went further to not only sign anti-immigration laws with the West, but offered for Libya to be the holding ground for African deportees, whom he described as starving and ignorant Africans, whose migration into the West he compared to the barbarian invasion of the West that would have devastating effects on European culture. At the same time, he urged his hosts to accept Libyans into the West, because they have money and are not blacks.
"He even further warned that even Europe would soon be black, if migrants from black Africa are not stopped from entering and settling in the West, a statement he repeated during the recently-concluded Europe-Africa summit in Tripoli. Interestingly enough, the same Africans he vowed to prevent from entering Europe, are the same people he is hiring as mercenaries to kill his own people.
"Gaddafi's only ambition has always been to become the king of the so-called Unites States of Africa, and saw himself as the master ruler of black Africa. He was upset when he was confronted in Sirte, Libya, and told that The Gambia would not be colonized twice and that, as far as the Gambia is concern, the United States of Africa that will eventually emerge must come from the grass root of the entire African continent, irrespective whether black, white or ...
"It will be a United States that will be united under a single continental federal government where the states, big and small, would be equal and respected partners, and not a United States of Africa where he would be the supreme leader.
"This became the turning point of his relationship with us, and this was precisely why he vehemently opposed The Gambia's bid to host the 2006 AU Summit up to the point of sending his son to Taiwan, and asking the authorities not to sponsor our hosting of the summit.
"Despite the several warnings of dire consequences, if he does not change his attitude towards black Africa that were conveyed to him directly or through his emissaries, Gaddafi was defiant, deaf and ignorant. We wish he had heeded these warnings, but he did not.
"We are appealing to all young Africans not to be used as mercenaries to kill the Libyan people. They risk dying without returning home, because what is happening in Libya is an unstoppable revolution.
"We are also calling on the Libyan armed forces to intervene to bring about the smooth and peaceful transition in Libya.
"The most honorable act that Gaddafi owes to the Libyan people is the sacred duty to step down immediately, and let the valiant Libyan people take charge of their affairs, and their country's destiny.
"Third World countries, especially Africans, must be mindful of the fact that any disorderly change of government could lead countries falling into the wrong hands; that is, in the hands of leaders who will only serve foreign interests, and bring about more exploitation, poverty and entrenched destitution.
"We are calling on all Gambians in Libya, and around the world, not to be used as mercenaries by Colonel Maummar Gaddafi, because the current revolution taking place in Libya is one that will not fail, Allah willing.
"Any Gambian that is captured as a mercenary in Libya should not expect any intervention or support from the Gambia government. No noble black African, as a matter of fact, should stand on the side of Gaddafi after he compared blacks to barbarians, which is an unacceptable insult.
"To conclude, we again call on the AU to take immediate and concrete steps to save African countries from anarchy. We owe it to the Libyan people to intervene to stop the carnage.
"The African leaders should remember that if we do not live up to our duties, and the expectations of our people, we are opening up avenues to outside powers to speak and decide on our behalf, as if there is no authority in Africa.
"We hereby condemn the unprecedented level of violence being meted out by Gaddafi and his ... We hereby again call on the Libyan army to intervene. Libyans have reached a point of no return, and no amount of violence can stop them.
"Today, it is interesting that Colonel Gaddafi who compared African migrants to barbarians is now calling his own people rats in the streets. This show of ingratitude for the love and support they gave him for 42 years warrants that he must go.
"On Tunisia, we are hereby appealing to the Tunisian people to reconcile, and settle their remaining differences peacefully. Tunisians should know that not all the issues can be solved by violence. We call on Tunisians to give the interim government a chance, to reconcile the people and organize elections.
"On Egypt, we praise the armed forces for stepping in, thereby avoiding what could have become a nasty bloodbath in Egypt. We also praise the Egyptian people for accepting the intervention of the army, thereby bringing an end to the violence and unrest.
"In both Egypt and Tunisia, continuous demonstrations would kill one of the most important sectors of their economies, mainly tourism, on which a countless number of people depend for survival. Now that the governments they disliked and revolted against have fallen, they should exercise patience and restraint.
"With regards to Algeria, we are appealing to both sides to use dialogue and exercise restraint, lest they will destroy the economy which will take them many years to rebuild. We believe that dialogue is the best solution in Algeria, and elsewhere.
"Finally, we are wondering why some African leaders who were calling for military intervention to resolve an electoral issue in Cote d’Ivoire are quiet, despite the killings in Libya.
"African leaders and Africans must be in total control of our continent's affairs. Failure to do so will lead to other people outside of Africa taking control of our affairs, and our destiny.
"All that can be deduced from what is going around is failure of the leadership to serve and protect the interest of their people. Share the national cake equally and lift them from abject poverty. Instead, they enrich themselves and their close associates at the expense, and to the detriment of the masses, citizens and the grassroots.
"To the West and their banks, all these massive funds that are being frozen should be de-frozen and sent back to the countries of origin, once a new government that represents the interest of the people is in place.
"Interestingly enough, despite the fact that even the ice at the polar ice caps melt, from time to time, assets of deposed Third World leaders, especially Africans, that are frozen and are being frozen allegedly for having been stolen from the people of their countries, have never been de-frozen and sent back, despite the fact that new elected governments are in place in these countries.
"Therefore, all these powers that are holding on to stolen properties and assets must be de-frozen, and returned immediately. Otherwise, they will be guilty of counter robbery. The billions they talk about yield interests and these interests alone can be used to build schools, health centres and other projects of benefit to the people.
"We are not appealing, but telling these Western powers to return all stolen wealth back to their rightful owners. It is simply a moral obligation to send these billions back to their countries of origin, where they were alleged to have been stolen from the people.
"We are praying that the Almighty Allah puts an end to these crises in the best interest of Africa and that, henceforth, we will see the emergence of a new generation of patriotic African leaders that are sincere, honest and caring, and will defend the interest of their people, country and mother Africa.
"I thank you all for your kind attention."