By Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: Diplomacy and politics may go hand in hand, but their partnership isn’t one of equals. It is logical — especially in a democracy — for a country’s diplomacy to serve its political leaders. Sometimes, however, smart leaders allow diplomacy to influence politics.
But equally, we are getting people into the foreign service, who never wanted to be in the foreign service. Now its customary that civil servants, politician fired or removed from their previous appointments for unknown reasons are easily “redeployed or recycled” into the Foreign Service. The kind of qualities that are needed in a diplomat are very different from others. So, there is need for separate recruitment rather than political patronage. For becoming a diplomat, one needs to have some interest in world affairs, some flair for languages among other qualities.
Fatoumatta: There is concern for non-career diplomats has considerably shrunk, as in the past there had been a number of highly illustrious diplomats who were not drawn from the (the Gambian Foreign Service) and who served their posts with distinction. There is of the considered view that more eminent persons who have excelled in the field of community affairs, diaspora issues, foreign policy, area studies, literature, economics and law etc. should be considered for appointments as ambassadors/high commissioners and consular officers. The Gambia’s diplomatic corps is way too inept and clumsy.
Fatoumatta: Who are we sending as our country’s diplomats abroad? What do we know of them and what skills do they have apart from being party cadres or relatives of the appointing authorities?
Why are we sending chopped liver envoys to represent the Gambia to the G 7 countries like USA, France, the UN, Britain, China, India, etc.? How on earth do we want these countries to respect us if we are sending party cadres and cronies with no geo-political clue about the importance of the countries they’re will dealing with to the Gambia?
We need to up our games and pull our socks on some of these appointments. No wonder our missions abroad are no go areas for Gambians! Some diplomats (no idea who they are) for being appointed the Gambia ‘s ambassadors abroad! I have no idea what they be doing there but I hope they enjoy as much and learn as much about what it means to be a diplomat!