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Gambia adopts motions on slavery and colonialism

Jun 1, 2015, 12:18 PM

The National Assembly of The Gambia on Friday 29 May adopted “the declaration of colonialism as a ‘crime against humanity’ with no statute of limitation” and “the declaration of slavery during colonialism as a crime against humanity as well as genocide”.

Senior government officials including the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and Presidential Affairs minister were present at the tabling of the two motions.

In moving the motions before the National Assembly members for debate, Hon Balla Garba Jahumpa, Minister for Works, Construction and Infrastructure, said the sovereign people of the Republic of The Gambia, under President Yahya Jammeh, wish to go down in history and join all the good people of conscience, to put the records straight for the good of mankind.

Hon. Garba Jahumpa added that members of the National Assembly, by considering and adopting a resolution on the aforesaid motions are not only putting vital historic records into correct perspectives, but also “asserting once again our humanity and independence as FREE and ALLAH-fearing people.”

Minister Jahumpa further informed the National Assembly members that colonialism is not only a crime against humanity, but a crime against humanity with “No Statute of Limitations”.

“Thus, it is a heinous crime that cannot be pardoned,” he said.

He expatiated: “The culprits and perpetrators of colonialism have unleashed untold sorrow(s) and hardship on the people and colonies they colonized. The cream of the intellectual human capital of the colonies was subjected to bondage which turned Africa’s first generation of Leaders into ‘Assimiladors’ of the French Empire and ‘Goodies’ or British boys in Anglophone Africa.

“Colonialism also gave birth to Apartheid, Corruption, Bribery and White-Collar Crimes that were hitherto unknown in Africa. Colonialism did NOT ONLY destroy the physical fabric of OLD African Nations but it also destroyed the Political, Social and Spiritual fabric of our Society. It eroded our self-esteem; and our ability to emancipate our people from bondage was also destroyed.”

Minister Jahumpa added that whenever President Jammeh speaks his mind, “in good faith, as an Allah-fearing leader, many a time, people would think that what he is saying or doing would not please the West."

He added: “The overwhelming majority of our current generation of African Leaders could NOT speak with consciences because they want to please those colonial masters against the popular will and aspirations of their own nations. This is the greatest single obstacle to Africa’s development and security.”

The motions were seconded by Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, member for Serrekunda East and Majority Leader, who said the motions are very important not only for The Gambia but for the African countries which were colonized by their masters.

He said colonialism is divided into two: one for economic reason and the other is exploitation, adding that as way back as fifteen centuries, Africa was composed of kingdoms and empires.

On the slave trade, the Majority leader noted that the Europeans used the slave trade to expand their industries, and during those days “they were not talking about democracy and human rights, till they came with their technologies and started calling for democracy and human rights.

Speakers on the occasion included the deputy Speaker Hon Fatou Mbye, Hon. Netty Baldeh, member for Tumana; Hon. Abdoulie Saine, member for Banjul Central, and all of them supported the motions and thanked the Gambian leader for fighting for the liberation of the African people.