Demba Ali Jawo, Former Minister Of Communications and Information Technology
By D. A. Jawo
It is indeed time that the Gambia revisited its foreign policy, particularly as it relates to the calibre of people that are entrusted with our foreign diplomatic missions.
We are still currently trying to digest the embarrassment that we had to endure as a nation when three of our diplomats at our embassy in Washington DC are being expelled from the USA for allegedly engaging in visa fraud and a fourth diplomat being investigated for domestic violence.
This is not the first such embarrassment from our foreign diplomats and it will certainly not be the last, considering the calibre of people currently manning our foreign missions. We can all recall what happened at our mission in the UK a few years ago when some of our diplomats there were imprisoned for smuggling cigarettes.
There is no doubt that the current foreign affairs minister Mamadou Tangara is one of the most experienced diplomats in this country, but that is certainly not being reflected in the way and manner that our foreign policy is being currently implemented and managed. We have seen that instead of posting seasoned diplomats to run our foreign diplomatic missions, the vast majority of those in charge today are mere political zombies who hardly have an iota of idea what diplomacy is about. As a result, our foreign policy is being butchered on a daily basis due mainly to the calibre of those representing us abroad. Therefore, we should brace ourselves for more such embarrassments from our so-called diplomats because we should not expect any better service from people who hardly know what is expected of them as diplomats. It would have at least made some sense to give them some rudimentary training in diplomacy rather than just posting people whose only apparent qualification is their support and allegiance to the ruling party.
It is certainly not a wise move to use our foreign diplomatic missions as a dumping ground for politicians who have failed at home only to be compensated with such postings, and that, unfortunately is the trend. There are now hardly any career diplomat in the field today, but mainly recycled politicians and other relatives and friends of those in authority.