The Gambia yesterday joined the rest of the African continent to commemorate another African Liberation Day. The day initially emerged on April 15, 1958, in Accra in Ghana, when African leaders and political activists gathered at the first Conference of Independent African States. It was later changed to May 25th after leaders of 32 independent African States met on that date, in 1963, to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The day is meant for Africans to reflect on the years of the most brutal suffering known to humanity, the rape and subsequent domination and subjugation of the African continent by agents of imperialism; the struggle for political freedom; the eventual attainment of nationhood by all African countries, as well as the challenges ahead. African Liberation Day further provides a platform for Africans and other oppressed peoples to inform the African masses about their respective struggles for true liberation and development. It inspires others to support through various progressive organizations, the building of anti-imperialist and national liberation movements by offering a platform where the world could receive political education and providing a mass assembly where the spirit and morale of Africans the world over could be reinvigorated.
It is not a day for merry-making; rather is a day that calls for a sober reflection of the plight of Africans and the monumental efforts of the founding fathers of the continent's emancipation movements. We should be asking ourselves, how far have we gone in our drive to construct a United States of Africa? How far have we come in our efforts to reassert our dignity? Another question could be, why are we still trailing in the world's development race? These are vital questions we should entertain and brainstorm over on this very important day. These fundamental questions can better be answered if we remind ourselves of the fact that though every African country is politically independent, our total liberation as a continent cannot be complete unless we are emancipated economically. The onus is on every one of us to work tirelessly to release Africa from the shackles of poverty, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, and above all the invisible hand of neo-colonialism. In the tradition of our Pan African spirit, given to us by our forebears, we have an obligation to intensify our efforts at developing our continent.
We should also not forget that African Liberation Day coincides with the birthday of our president, His Excellency Sheik Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, whose contribution to the Pan-Africanist cause cannot be overemphasized. We therefore wish to seize this opportunity once more to wish him a belated happy 49th birthday and pray that the Almighty God continues to shower his blessings on him to continue steering the wheel of this country towards eternal growth and development as well as pursuing the objectives of Pan-Africanism.