By Muhammed Sailu Bah
The members of the National Assembly of The Gambia, on Friday, 29 May 2015, unanimously adopted two motions at their first extra ordinary session declaring both colonialism and slavery as crimes against humanity.
According to the Order Paper outlining the proceedings, the first motions states “Be it resolved that this august Assembly consider and adopt Resolutions on: A motion for the Declaration of Colonialism as A crime Against Humanity with no Statute of Limitation”.
The other motion also sought for “…the Declaration of Slavery during Colonialism As a Crime against Humanity as well as Genocide”.
In his summing up remarks, Mr. Bala Garba Jahumpa, the minister responsible for National Assembly Matters, told deputies that the Europeans in the 16th Century valued horses more than the lives of people living in the Senegambia region, adding that the Portuguese were trading one horse for 15 captives.
He dwelled on colonial history and cited the examples of Nkrumah, Lumumba, Steve Biko as symbols of resistance.
“Therefore, honorable speaker, as the vanguard of the July 22nd revolution, we condemned not only British colonialism but any form of colonialism and exploitation,” he said.
He added “we are not condemning the people but we are condemning a system that brutalized and exploited our people.”
He cited the majority leader who, he said, is calling on all countries to stop all forms of form of slavery.
Mr. Jahumpa said the deputy speaker supported the motion and described the discussion of the issue as timely and long overdue.
He said the Deputy Speaker also thanked the President of the Gambia for inviting the Rohingya Muslims to the Gambia.