Gambia became a symbol for democratic change earlier this year when former dictator Yahya Jammeh was peacefully ousted through the ballot box. Now Europe wants its Gambian immigrants to return home.
The adoption of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance five years ago raised hopes for a new democratic Africa. But its ideals remain elusive for many parts of the continent.
Regional power Ecowas, which has just seen off yet another dictator in Yahya Jammeh, started off with a tame agenda 42 years ago. But it was soon shaped by civil wars, military coups and despots
Although Ecowas and the AU made sure that Yahya Jammeh stepped down after losing the elections in The Gambia, caution is warranted in assuming this heralds a trend against African dictatorships.
There is a real sense of optimism in The Gambia: for the first time since Yahya Jammeh came to power, there has been open dissent of the regime and a feeling of ownership of the country’s future.