News / Africa

Gambia Withdraws from Commonwealth

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh stands outside the Sipopo Conference Center ahead of the opening session of the 17th African Union Summit, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 2011. (file photo)Gambian President Yahya Jammeh stands outside the Sipopo Conference Center ahead of the opening session of the 17th African Union Summit, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 2011. (file photo)
x
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh stands outside the Sipopo Conference Center ahead of the opening session of the 17th African Union Summit, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 2011. (file photo)
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh stands outside the Sipopo Conference Center ahead of the opening session of the 17th African Union Summit, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, June 2011. (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
James Butty
President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has unilaterally taken his country out of the Commonwealth, becoming the first African leader to do so since President Robert Mugabe took Zimbabwe out in 2003. 

A statement reportedly issued late Wednesday said the “government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism”.

Gambian-born Sulayman Nyang, senior professor and former chair of the African Studies Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. said some western governments’ rejection of Jammeh’s anti-gay rhetoric and dismal human rights record might be two reasons behind his decision.

“If he [Jammeh] made this statement, there are two underlying reasons behind the decision. One, in my opinion is the fact that when President Jammeh went to the UN, he came out categorically against the gay movement. So for that reason, he is definitely at loggerheads with the Prime Minister of Great Britain who has been very strong in support of gay groups,” he said.

Some western governments, Britain in particular, has threatened to withhold aid because of Jammeh’s anti-gay stance.

Nyang said the Gambian leader has adopted the old African nationalist position not to kowtow to imperialists.

Addressing parliament last year, Jammeh some western governments of trying to instill gay culture in the Gambia.

“If you are going to give us aid money for men and men or for women and women to marry, please leave it. We don’t need your aid money because as far as I am the President of the Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country,” the Gambian leader said.

Nyang said Jammeh’s notorious human rights record could also another reason for taking his country out of the Commonwealth.

“When all the facts come to light, you are going to see people looking at Jammeh at two levels. Those who are fighting for human rights will tell the story of Jammeh and his dictatorship. So, what I am emphasizing once again is that this decision of Jammeh is also occasioned not only by his state the UN against gay groups, but also because of the fact that he is very much aware of the fact that those who opposed to him are going to connect the dots, and some of those dots will lead him to [to former Liberian President] Charles Taylor and all the dictators in Africa,” he said.

He said even African nationalists such as Ghana’s founding president Kwame Nkrumah never broke away from the Commonwealth.
Butty interview with Nyang
Butty interview with Nyangi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

“The only time Kwame Nkrumah only had problem was when [former British] Prime Minister [Harold] Wilson gave that famous, unacceptable statement to Africans at the time. And there were some Africans who were beginning to have the idea that if Wilson is not willing to suppress the government of Ian Smith in Southern Rhodesia, then why should we be dancing to the British music?” Nyang said.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Lloyd Suwaneh from: Senegal
October 05, 2013 3:51 PM
Let's face it, the king kong called jammeh has once failed to provide support to his country, all in the ame of drawing away from colonialism. As a gambian, i am deeply ashamed of how he governs the country and I am ashamed of how hes trying to cover his evil tracks all in the name of loving his country. he's a pig, a donkey and most importantly, he looks like a black buddha. Get a life president Jammeh, no one cares about whether youre in commonwealth or not.
PIG


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 03, 2013 2:32 PM
Repression and anti human rights, bad. But when has democracy changed its meaning to return to colonialism? The way western democracies want to force change to African, Asian and Arabian ways of life has become something to raise questions about. Is it for good? Whose good? With this revolt, there may be others following. Aid does not mean Britain or any country for that matter should control another country. Fundamental Human Rights we were told regarded right to food, clothing and shelter.

When democratization added other fringes to make up the lapse as becoming norms, it becomes a distortion. It is because of human right excesses that the globe has wormed and is warming beyond human endurance; in like manner, excessive social rights without bridle will lead to the earth looking for escape. Why not allow societies to remain in their tradition while the West goes haywire: if it become attractive, others will copy, but if it fails them, others will thank their God for staying afar off. Meddlesome-ness is not democratic. The West and Britain in particular should stop meddling in other countries' affairs in the name of aid, democracy or commonwealth. The era of slavery is past and will never return no matter how much one tries to return it through aid.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid