By Idrissa Conteh
President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to pull out of African Union and Economic Community of West Africa States if the two institutions are reduced to the control of Western powers.
The Gambian leader issued the threat in Banjul over the weekend as he wound up his month-long nationwide tour of the country.
He said: “… Now they [West] are trying to use Ecowas. They said Yahya Jammeh cannot be changed by elections. They want to use their stooges in Ecowas to impose term limit because that is … a Western agenda. Where were the so-called Western leaders today 20 years ago when I became head of state? Let me warn Ecowas – Gambia is nobody’s colony and our development is not dependent on Ecowas that has already failed because it has been hijacked by the West. Even if the whole world introduced term limit, I will not have a term limit and let me see what you can do.
Democracy is power to the people and not power to the West.
“I am a pan-Africanist, but I will not subscribe to any institution that is hijacked by the West and be used against Africa. If it is the AU, I will leave AU; if it is Ecowas, I will leave Ecowas, but I will not be given lecture by any of these institutions on behalf of the West. Tell me about one electric pole here which was installed by the AU (African Union) or Ecowas or by the British or the Americans. We are not fools! Let them mind their own business.”
President Jammeh also promised legal action against the West for them to compensate the country for slavery and colonialism.
Jammeh also vowed that he will wipe the country clean of any colonial relic which includes changing the name of Armitage High School to an African name and the official language from English to a local language.
He added: “By next Friday, I will change the name of Armitage High School to an African name. So-called Albert Market, I am going to change the name to an African name. Because what does it remind us? The colonial wickedness and exploitation. In next five years we are going to change our official language from English to Wollof or another Gambia language.
“If slavery is genocide then colonialism is also genocide and that is why the National Assembly came up with a motion declaring slavery and colonialism as crime against humanity and genocide. And we are also coming up with a bill so that all those who are responsible in Africa especially in The Gambia; as for slavery, we will take them to trial in our courts and they will pay for it. If you think that you can colonise Africans, loot them and you can take them into slavery with impunity, that is not going to happen. We are going to force them to compensate and we will not relent on this. Enough is enough! If they [West] want Africa to be democratic, what were you teaching us for four hundred years? If Africa was not democratic, why were you not teaching us democracy? You were looting.”