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PPP Independence Message

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Hon. Kebba E Jallow, Secretary General and Party Leader, PPP.

Happy 59th independence. 

The history of the Gambia is a remarkable story of perseverance, unity, and determination. The Protectorate People Society, which later became the Protectorate People’s Party (PPP), was formed in 1957 by marginalized individuals from the protectorate living in Bathurst (now Banjul). They joined forces to improve their welfare and support each other in the face of limited horizons and keen rivalry between small welfare organizations. 

However, their mission was far more significant. The PPP’s founders included educated youths from the protectorate, who saw an opportunity to create something greater than themselves. They wanted to bring all protectorate people together under one united banner and work towards a brighter, more prosperous future for all. 

Led by the late Sir Dawda, the PPP worked tirelessly and relentlessly to make their dreams a reality. Their unwavering commitment and determination paid off when they founded the party on 14th February 1959 in Basse, amidst much anticipation and excitement. The Gambians celebrated their independence on 18th February 1965, marking a new beginning for our nation. 

It is worth noting that history teaches us how the voice of the people can bring about great change. Back then, the protectorate people were not allowed to vote, but the PPP stood up for their rights and called for a constitutional amendment that would grant them the right to vote based on universal adult suffrage. The established political parties proposed a different approach, but the PPP refused to settle for anything less than what they believed was right. Their courage, perseverance, and a strong sense of purpose paid off. Within just a few years, they achieved internal self-government and full sovereignty for the Gambia. 

Since 1970, the Gambia has been a shining example of what can be achieved through open multiparty democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Over the years from 1970 to 1992, the country has held five general and presidential elections in an atmosphere of tranquility, freedom, and fairness – a degree of which is unheard of in most of Africa. 

“Our party believes in persuasion through conviction, rather than fear, and we remain genuinely determined to ensure a just, orderly, and modern society despite the challenges of limited resources, technological backwardness, and a hostile world economic environment” the late Sir Dawda once said. 

At independence, the Gambia was heavily dependent on British grants, and the country had a deficit of 5.3 million pounds. This created doubts about our ability to function as an independent sovereign state, as British grants continued to finance 30% of both our recurrent and development expenditures. 

Contemporary historian Harry Gailey made a pessimistic forecast of the political and economic future of our country. “The Gambia has been stunt in its political, economic, and social development for so long that any easing of its burdens may be considered by government leaders as a major victory. The future, however, of this oldest British West African possession from any point of view seems indeed gloomy”. The Voice of the People 

However, the PPP’s founders had faith in their ability to create a prosperous and modern society, despite the challenges of limited resources, technological backwardness, and a hostile world economic environment. They knew that with the support of the Gambian people, they could achieve great things. And they did. Today, the Gambia stands as a testament to what can be achieved when people come together with a common goal.

The Gambian journey has been a true rollercoaster ride, filled with countless challenges and setbacks that would have broken others. But the Gambia has remained resilient and dedicated to its cause, emerging stronger and better prepared to face any adversity. As we mark the 59th anniversary of our independence, let us take a moment to marvel at the country’s unique history, pay homage to its visionary founding fathers, and celebrate its unwavering commitment to a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Gambia. Happy Independence Anniversary!

Hon. Kebba E Jallow,

Secretary General and Party Leader, PPP.

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