Gambia: Is Illegal Migration Stoppable?

Photo: fasozine
Alpha Blondy
21 November 2017

Some six years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi and the wave of arrival of migrants crossing the country that followed, never the African and international opinion had been so shocked by what is happening in Libya. The Point newspaper offers you a thorough analysis to understand the ins and outs of this unprecedented migration crisis.

It all started with the broadcast of a documentary on CNN television last week. This documentary confirms the testimony of several witnesses before: many fellow African migrants are enslaved and auctioned off as slaughter animals in camps in Libya.

It is hard to believe such a thing could happen in 21st century. It rightly gives goose bumps to Africans and to all those who enjoy peace and humanity. It reminds us bad memories to a slaved continent for more than four centuries. Nevertheless, this film has had the merit of causing an outcry and uproar to attract the attention of everyone.

This last Saturday, groups of the diaspora of the continent held a protest march in front of the Libyan Embassy in Paris. Later, with the help of a snowball effect, our sheepish leaders followed suit. President Conde made a declaration of indignation on social networks. He reassured the opinion that the continental organisation he chaired would take up the issue. Not to mention the rants on the defensive presidents of Niger, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast etc.

Better late than never!

Today, protest sit-ins are planned in many African capitals to say no to this practice which dishonours all humanity. In addition, a petition is being launched by members of African civil society and the diaspora. We strive for this mobilisation to bear fruit and for this trade of shame to cease forever.

The question that needs to be asked is how did we get there?

Should we always manage the consequences of a war or should we anticipate things by preventing possible crises? Obviously, you have to choose the second option.

The Libyan powder keg and the barracks are the result of a war with unhappy outcome. It is also indicative of the failure of the socio-economic development policies of our leaders. For many of the countries of the continent, our leaders are unable to offer any improvement in the living conditions of their constituents, hence this large flow of migrants from all over the continent, particularly in West Africa.

Regarding the first cause, the sudden fall of the former Libyan leader is attributable to an international coalition led by France former president Nicolas Sarkozy under the patronage of his eminence leaden, Bernard-Henry Lévy who promoted the overthrow of Gaddafi by all means.

In retrospection, it is not enough to say that the brutal removal from office and assassination of the man who wanted to unite Libya in one block created a void. Six years after his death, the country remains ungovernable. He finds himself balkanized according to the tribes and is subject to the dictate of these many militias. The execution of Gaddafi by the coalition has left the situation rotten without any measure of restoration of the state in the meantime on the excuse that the country is free from the yoke of the former dictator. As in this case, there was no "after-sales service" to use the expression of Chadian President Idriss Déby.

During Gaddafis' administration, the European Union paid annually to the charismatic leader 5 to 6 billion euros to serve as a fortification against migration. Of course, Gaddafi was also using it to blackmail the EU whenever the occasion arose. After its fall, the road is marked. In six years, they are millions to have borrowed the Libyan coast to join the old continent.

Excited and overwhelmed, the EU does not know what to do

According to several sources, to stop the flow of migrants arriving by the hundreds of thousands each week, this great institution no longer hesitates to make a deal with the devil by paying money to the militias. A solution for the least cynical, provisional and source of these consequences that we are currently observing. But for Europe, all means are good to push our compatriots back.

Solution inspired by the pact signed elsewhere in Turkey to retain migrants, victims of the war in Syria, Afghanistan etc.

The wave of outrage hopefully, will push our leaders to rethink the employment policy of African youth. At the end of this month, it is to hold an EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, let's try this prickly issue will be on the agenda to address this multiple issues: how to offer better prospects to young people who brave all the risks to leave the continent? What can rich countries do to help reduce inequalities? In this increasingly integrated world, it is illusory to think of owning all the wealth of the world and living in a vacuum. It will be necessary to think of a better redistribution of wealth. In turn, there is a viable migration solution for the entire continent.

The root causes of these numerous departures to emigration are known. This youth can no longer be satisfied with the minimum at home, hence the name of economic migrants. After a good training, what's more distressing than being left idle by staying on the floor or signing derisory stamps in companies? While "modou-modou", hear emigrated emigrants build luxury villas or roll in 4 × 4 once back to the fold.

The Gambia's case

The Gambia, the continent's smallest land-based country, today has the saddest record of the largest migrant-producing country, in proportion to the number of its population.

This dark picture is far from a coincidence. The 22 years of Jammeh's dictatorship have also been marked by poor governance. The spoliation of public money, nepotism, patronage was created in order. Although some progress has been made in areas such as education and health.

In the meantime, God knows that Gambian youth has been educated in favor of an education policy for all. The consequence, a growing demand for more decent employment. What to propose to these young people so that they thrive at home after a training? The unfavorable economic situation following Jammeh's policy of isolation, underemployment, poverty wages only discourages this important fraction of the country.

In five years, the country has literally emptied off its young population. They are more than 50,000 young Gambians to have left the country. How many have perished? How many have reached their destination, how many have been repatriated? How many have been sold into slavery? These figures difficult to verify.

Sad fate for a country whose future is in the hands of the young people. The new authorities have a duty to tackle this challenges through various means: firstly, a coherent youth employment policy, second, a policy to encourage investment and the return of the large diaspora, third, a crusade to raise awareness of this issue in other to tell them that social success is not synonymous with expatriation and that the West is no longer an eldorado. During this forced exile, how many have missed or miss the Western adventure?

These are the key questions that the new authorities should tackle in order to find lasting solutions in the coming months, because the future of the country largely depends on them.

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