It has been over a year since President Jammeh has declared Gambia an Islamic State but one of Barrow’s campaign promises has been to undo that declaration.
In his joint Christmas and New Year message, he is reiterating his desire to make good on that promise by assuring you that he “will spare no effort to ensure that The Gambia remains a secular democratic sovereign republic which would protect the right of each Gambian to hold and practice the religion or creed of one’s choice without any hindrance or discrimination.”
Jammeh declared mainland Africa’s smallest country an Islamic republic in order to shake off the country’s “colonial legacy,” but Jammeh who has refused to hand over power is being told not to act better than the colonialists.
Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years and lost his bid to secure a fifth mandate. He is now refusing to hand over power after conceding defeat. The country’s president-elect, Adama Barrow, a real estate developer who lived in Great Britain reminded Mr. Jammeh that even the colonial master hand over power peacefully when The Gambian people decided to gain their independence.
Both Jammeh and Barrow were born months apart in the very year that The Gambia gained independence in 1965. Barrow is now asking for his fellow independence baby, who had been busy blaming colonialism for his policy failure is being told to learn one thing: “if the colonialists could peacefully hand over executive power in accordance with the dictates of the people of the Gambia, we the citizens should be able to show a better example to our children and those yet unborn.”
Jammeh’s declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic Republic was met with resistance. Economists say he burnt all bridges with The Gambia’s traditional donors and was turning to Arab and Gulf states for handouts.
Mr. Jammeh’s declaration resulted to the marginalization and infringement od the rights of Christians. A ban on drumming during the Ramadan saw police enter churches in the Greater Banjul area stopping Christian worshippers from drumming and an attempt to shut down a cemetery in Banjul, The Gambia’s capital, nearly ignited sectarian tension.
(Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Additional Reporting from Torch on Gambia)