By: Bubacarr Fallaboweh
The Gambia High Commissioner to the UK, Fatou Bensouda, on Monday, 12th June, presented her credentials to the Swedish King. Counsellor Sainey Barrow and First Secretary Mr. Abu Bakr Jawara accompanied Bensouda. Apart from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, she is also the Ambassador of The Gambia to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Ireland, Israel, and The Holy See.
H.E. Dr. Fatou Bensouda, through the Gambian organization in Sweden, held a diaspora Engagement in Stockholm on Sunday at Medborgplatsen. The plight of Gambians was raised as many people were present.
Bensouda is among the high number of delegates to visit Stockholm. His visit preceded Momodou Bobb, Halifa Sallah, and Momodou Tangara.
” In many of these countries, perhaps the concentration of Gambians in the Nordic countries is quite a lot. I call for unity and togetherness to continue; we must always strive to nature that. I have always advocated the Gambia first, that is, country first. We must be there for one another. Regardless of political affiliation, or tribe, we are, first and foremost, Gambians. This was very profound when I was a prosecutor at the ICC. The U.N. appointed me as a commission chairperson, but I had to resign to take this position because we all need to consider serving our country at some point. I can still contribute something to my country, one of the main reasons that motivated me,” Bensouda said.
“The embassy is for all Gambians; you can count on our cooperation and readiness to work with you on any project dear to the Gambia. To serve my people and country.”
“If we Gambians are not first and upfront in trying to develop our country, nobody else will. This is something that everybody has to realize; we all have to help to develop our country. It’s a duty and responsibility. Not one person can do it or two, but we all have to unite to do it.” She added
Challenges and Constraints
Her new post will see her strengthen the relationship between Sweden and the Gambia. 90% percent of teenagers killed in Sweden have Gambian descent, and culprits are yet to be brought to justice. Gambian mothers in Sweden are losing their sons to gun violence and drug abuse, and the commissioner said the problem is escalating.
“The problem should be looked at internally and call for psychological support to be given.”
Like other Gambian residents in the diaspora, the Gambian residents in Stockholm raised concerns about the Airport levy fee, which is 20 euro; the commissioner said the cost is going to the immigration budget. Quality health, access to treatment, and maternal death were all raised.
The high rate of crime and call for security were also mentioned, and the commissioner agreed that it’s pretty worrying and alarming.
Questions came from both gender, and more light was thrown once again on diaspora voting, where the diaspora will be able to cast their votes just like in Senegal and Ghana during presidential elections.
The urge to see Yaya Jammeh brought to justice was raised, and the commissioner said she was pleased that some things were taking shape.
She also stated that her president Adama Barrow accepted 98 percent of the recommendation and said setting up a tribune for justice requires a lot because of transparency as the body often hires international judges.
Bensouda further indicated that a holistic approach and prevention had been agreed upon to deter people from taking the backway.
Bensouda wrapped up the evening by distributing certificates to Gambians who made the event successful.
The chairperson of the organization of the Gambia in Sweden (GOIS), Fatou Owens Jarra, was joined by the pioneers of the organization from 1975 to remind those that attended the event that they should take ownership and by becoming a member, all hands will be on deck to solve issues that the Gambian community in Sweden is facing. The total number of Gambians currently in Sweden is 12 469.