11:58 04 October 2013
Gambia’s government announced last night that it has "withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that it will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any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.”
President Yahya Jammeh seized power in the West African state almost 20 years ago when he was a 29-year-old Lieutenant.. He is the first president to withdraw from Commonwealth unilaterally since 2003 when President Robert Mugabe chose to withdraw Zimbabwe.
Gambia’s withdrawal is seen as an unexpected blow on the eve of a summit that is scheduled to be held on November 16 in Sri Lanka, which will be attended by the Prince of Wales, David Cameron, and about 50 other heads of government.
This news, although considered a huge blow to the summit isn’t entirely unexpected as Mr Jammeh typically chose to invert the status quo.
Last month, he declared that homosexuals were “very evil” while he was speaking at the UN. He added that all homosexuals should leave Gambia or face the risk of getting beheaded. Last year, he said that all his critics could “go to hell.” He added: "Those who accuse me of human rights abuses, I leave them to Allah."
[Image credit: By Photo courtesy IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons]
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