The Gambian government confirmed on December 11, 2017 that it had submitted an application to rejoin the Commonwealth union, with Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe notifying parliament of the decision on December 28, 2017
The Gambian government confirmed on December 11, 2017 that it had submitted an application to rejoin the Commonwealth union, with Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe notifying parliament of the decision on December 28, 2017.
The motion was accepted unanimously, with Darboe labelling the country’s departure from the Commonwealth, which was conducted by former President Yahya Jammeh, “regrettable” and a “major low point in the foreign relations of The Gambia.”
Jammeh pulled the West African country out of the Commonwealth in 2013, under the reasoning that the group, with a membership of 54 countries at the time, was a `neo-colonial institution.’
However, following Jammeh’s shock defeat to Adama Barrow in the December 2016 elections and his subsequent exile, the Commonwealth indicated the possibility of The Gambia’s return to the union.
During office, Jammeh also announced The Gambia’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, just before his electoral defeat in 2016.
Barrow annulled this decision shortly after taking office, a fulfilment of one of the campaign promises of the opposition coalition.
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland issued a statement in December 2016 that said: “When The Gambia left the Commonwealth in 2013, the Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo that year noted this decision with regret and looked forward to the country’s eventual return.
“Like every close knit family, our Commonwealth doors remain open.”
At parliament on December 28, 2017, Foreign Minister Darboe said: “The decision to withdraw The Gambia was not made in consultation with the National Assembly, general public or government institutions that benefited from Gambia’s relations with the Commonwealth.”