By Madi Jobarteh
Gambians, look at these two diplomatic Passports and compare them:
The number on the diplomatic passport of the man is D0001423, meaning he is the 1423rd person to acquire a diplomatic passport. The passport claims his nationality as Gambian, and he is classified as ‘Ambassador-at-Large’ of the Gambia Government. His diplomatic passport was issued on 17 July 2019. He is 31 years old.
The number on the diplomatic passport of the woman is D0016169, meaning she is the 16,169th person to acquire a diplomatic passport. She obtained her diplomatic passport on 25 July 2019. She is classified as an ‘Economic Adviser’ most likely to the Gambia Government. This lady was born in 1994, meaning she is just 25 years old! Yet she is an economic adviser to our Government. She is also claimed to be a ‘Gambian’.
The number of days between the time the woman and the man obtained their diplomatic passports is only eight (8) days. This means if the man is the 1423rd person and the woman is the 16,169th person to obtain diplomatic passport this means in between them 14,746 diplomatic passports where already issued diplomatic passports within only 8 days! How on earth could any Government on earth issue fourteen thousand seven hundred and forty-six (14,746) diplomatic passports within one week?
Now check the signatures on both diplomatic passports. The signatures are completely different such that one wonders who truly signed these passports to be issued? Are these signatures that of Pres. Adama Barrow or the Foreign Minster Mamadou Tangara or the Director General of Immigration? Who owns these four different signatures?
The holders of these diplomatic passports have been classified as ‘Gambians’. How? As foreigners the Constitution requires them to obtain citizenship only by two means, i.e. by marriage or by naturalization. To become a citizen by marriage requires the person to be ordinarily resident in the Gambia for nothing less than seven years. To naturalise, the Constitution requires that the person ordinarily resides in the Gambia for not less than 15 years.
I wish to hereby posit that these two foreigners are not married to any Gambian neither have they been ordinarily resident in the Gambia for at least 15 years. I challenge both the Foreign Minster and the Director General of Immigration to refute my claims if they have contrary information. Until they present authentic material evidence to refute my claims, I hereby state that these two Caucasians are non-Gambians who have illegally acquired Gambian Diplomatic Passports due to collusion with the Gambia Government.
Since the diplomatic passport abuse emerged one could hear various Government officials claim that there is a law that gives authority to the President to sign diplomatic passports. What law are they referring to? As far as I know there is no law or policy or regulation in the Gambia concerning diplomatic passports. Even the Immigration Act does not mention the words ‘Diplomatic Passports’. Therefore, what law authorises anyone in the Gambia to issue diplomatic passports? I challenge the Gambia Government to produce such law or policy?
Finally, why do we have two young people of 25 and 31 years serve as ‘ambassador-at-Large’ and ‘Economic Adviser’ respectively for the Gambia. What qualification or expertise and experience do these two foreigners have such that they could acquire such privilege position in our Government? Is the Barrow Government telling us there are no such Gambians with the requisite knowledge and experience to serve in these positions such that they have to seek non-Gambians for that purpose?
What the above analysis show is that there is intense and widespread corruption regarding the issuance of diplomatic passports. The fact is that this present Government, just like the previous regime are selling the sovereignty and integrity of the Gambia for selfish gain. This is crime of unimaginable proportions that must be thoroughly investigated.
I wish to therefore call on the National Assembly to open a public inquiry into this issue of the diplomatic passports. Diplomatic passports are State products that squarely stands on the sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of the Gambia. Hence diplomatic passports cannot and must not be issued to anyone who is not in the service of the State in the international stage. Diplomatic passports must be jealously guarded.
Therefore, the National Assembly must summon the Foreign Minister and the Director General of Immigration as well as the Vice President representing the President to speak directly to the issue. The above two diplomatic passports clearly show that there is blatant abuse and corruption surrounding diplomatic passports that must be addressed head on immediately. The National Assembly must not leave this matter all alone with the Government which is already deeply complicit in this matter.
I have no confidence whatsoever that the Gambia Government led by Adama Barrow has the willingness, honesty and seriousness to investigate this matter inside out and ensure that accountability and sanity prevails. Therefore, if the National Assembly once again ignore this matter and let the Government lead on this issue rest assured there will be no truth and openness.
For the Gambia Our Homeland