It was not enough for the PPP that it commandingly won 50% of the May 1960 general election against the old parties. It was not enough for the PPP that it emerged victorious once more against the old parties in the April 1962 general election. It was certainly not enough for the PPP that it fought tooth, limb and nail to get the Gambia to self-determination. No it was not enough for the PPP that colonial powers were still dictating the policies of the Gambia while to its citizens stood powerless. The Gambia, as far as the PPP was concerned must be liberated, free, and independent. Independence was the ultimate goal.
While the landscape for self-governance and subsequent independence was paved on October 4, 1963, enormous challenges still remained in making the PPP’s dream of self-governance and independence a reality. The PPP government continued its pressure on the governor to facilitate the final constitutional amendment that would take the Gambia to full self-governance and to independence. Unfortunately, while the PPP continued to strive for independence, Pierre S. Njie of UP was working to undermine the process by deliberately recusing himself from the legislative meetings for self-governance. Pierre S. Njie’s refusal to partake in the constitutional consultation hindered the drafting process for constitutional changes necessary to take the country to independence. However, the PPP government never relented in its pursuit for self-governance. The Party leadership pushed even harder through continued pressure and constant communication between representative in the United Kingdom (UK), Governor Paul and the UP. The party leadership countered every pushback and reluctance from UP and the UK. The leadership made it abundantly clear that it will not relent and will not negotiate on relinquishing the idea of independence nor would it accept making Gambia a part of Senegal. While the talks continued, Pierre S. Njie requested a referendum before independence and indicated that he hoped independence will bring negative consequences to the livelihood of Gambians. The PPP leadership accepted the referendum so long as it will facilitate the process of constitutional ratification. The leadership continued to assure UK that the PPP will uphold democratic principles and will ensure strong relationship with the commonwealth.
Finally the constitutional talk was setup for July 1964. When that day came, the PPP government was ready. Governor Paul set the stage and Lord Lansdowne chaired the event. Sir Dawda was accompanied by Sheriff Sakouba Sisay, Sherif Mustapha Dibba, Alieu Badara Njie, Amang Kanyi, Seyfo Omar Mbakeh, Kalilou Singhateh, Famara Wassa Tourey, and Paul L. Baldeh. Burang John, Kebba W. Foon, Garba Jahumpa and Pierre S. Njie represented the UP. Other Gambian government officials in attendance were Philip R. Bridges, F.D.C Williams, K. J. W. Lane and Rev J. C. Faye. The Sir John Martin, J. M. Kirsch H. Steel, and R. G. Pettitt represented the UK. The conference talks continued for ten session ending on July 30, 1964. At the end of the long session on July 30, chairman Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys announced the good news that the UK was ready to grant the Gambia its independence. Unfortunately, besides I. M. Garba Jahumpa, all the representatives of the UP including Pierre S. Njie missed that great announcement while they were out taking a tour of London. It was a monumental victory to the PPP and its leadership. The treacherous road to independence finally came to an end when the Secretary of State for the Colonies confirmed the Gambia will become independent on February 18, 1965. The Secretary also declared that upon independence, the Gambia would become member of the commonwealth and the Queen would become the Queen of the Gambia.
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara gave the closing remarks for the July 30 meeting. Soon after he was done, Garba Jahumpa gave his closing remark apologizing for his tardiness at the meeting, congratulated the Gambians for the great achievement and thanked the UK for making the PPP goal a reality. When all the parties completed their closing remarks, Sir Dawda Jawara, Sheriff Sisay, Rt Hon Duncan Sandy and Lord Lansdowne signed the declaration document sealing the future of the Gambia. Governor Paul made the official announcement of the Queen’s decision and the constitutional declaration of the Gambian Independence ACT of 1964.
In the early morning hours of February 18, 1965, at MacCarthy Square, the British flag was lowered for the last time on the Gambian soil, the Gambian flag of Red, White, Blue, White and Green rose for the first time breaking the chain of colonialism and sealing the country’s future as free and Independent country. The PPP and its leadership finally achieve the greatest milestone long been doubted by many.