Gambia’s recent move to annex a Senegalese border village into its territory is not only an act of aggression against Senegal, its leadership, and her people, but a deliberate provocation coming from a deranged despot Yahya Jammeh, who is apparently testing President Macky Sall’s courage and ability to lead Senegal in times of crisis, the Freedom Newspaper can report. Mr. Jammeh is a certified bully. He is flagrantly and openly exploiting on Mr. Sall’s apparent weakness and lack of condor to lead his onetime nation, which emerged as a leader in the region during President Wade’s era. Such Jammeh madness cannot happen under President Abdoulaye Wade’s watch. Never! It can only happen under Macky’s era.
It is imperative to note that Yahya Jammeh came to power in July of 1994, through a coup. It is now close to twenty two years, when Jammeh seized power from the then PPP regime led by President Jawara.
Throughout this period, Jammeh has never claimed that the village of Tranquil, in the Southern province of Casamance was of part of Gambia’s territory. Overtime, Senegal has had three Presidents: Abdou Diof, Abdoulaye Wade, and of recent Macky Sall. He raised the issue during Sall’s watch as the leader of Senegal. The million dollar question is: Why is Jammeh claiming that Tranquil is part of Gambia’s territory now?
Jammeh’s latest erratic behavior has caused confusion in Senegal, especially within Macky’s own Presidential palace. Macky’s government couldn’t comprehend the rationale behind Jammeh’s occupation of the border village, which belongs to Senegal historically and factually speaking. Hence, the Sall’s government has been caught off-guard.
Now both governments are trying dose the tensions building up along the border between the armed Senegalese security and their Gambian counterpart. Representatives from The Gambia and Senegal have visited the disputed territory—with the hope of resolving the matter amicably.
Notwithstanding, the border stalemate continues to remain unabated. The Jammeh regime is still insisting that Tranquil is part and parcel of Gambia’s territory. It blames colonial masters for not properly demarcating the border.
“The reason why we cannot demarcate the border today (Thursday) is precisely because of the difference in the equipment we are using. The colonialists have left us with an equipment called UTM-200 and now we are using WGS 84. The difference between the two equipment is not the degrees and minutes which are the same, but it is seconds and the work on this border requires an exact demarcation,” the Foroyaa Newspaper quoted one Mr. Gaye, a technician from The Gambia, who was at the border to measure the border demarcation between Senegal and The Gambia.
Mr. Gaye called on the authorities to allow them to go back and convert the WGS 84 to UTM 200 to arrive at the exact demarcation, the paper reported.
According to the Froyaa Newspaper “Professor Saliou Ndiaye, the High Commissioner of Senegal to the Gambia, described the meeting as very important. He said having a meeting to resolve a border dispute is not unique to Tranquil alone. He said such a meeting has been done in Cameroon and elsewhere. He said he has been to a country where the border is in the capital in which the distance separating the countries is only 10 metres and that one is notified of entering the other country.”
“We should maintain peace because none of the authorities in the two countries have time for war. We want our children to be educated and our countries to develop to benefit all our citizens,” said the Senegalese High Commissioner,” Ambassador Ndiaye was quoted as having said.
There is malice in this whole Gambia/Senegal border crisis. Jammeh is an agent provocateur. He knew that no serous action would be taken by the status quo in Dakar, to end his provocation of Senegal and her leadership. Jammeh has cleverly calculated his moves and he would continue to bully President Sall.
Just last month, Jammeh out of nowhere, ordered his rogue security agents to arrest West African nationals on the basis that they were engaged in prostitution. He dumped the alleged prostitutes along the border, in the Southern province of Casamance, without no legal justification.
The Senegalese Ambassador accredited to The Gambia, was never notified about the mass deportation of the foreign nationals into his country. The majority of the deportees were non Senegalese nationals, but that never stopped the mad dog Jammeh from shipping the ECOWAS citizens to the border. President Sall was left with the burden to cater for the arriving deportees from Banjul.
President Macky Sall has a responsibility and obligation to Senegal and her people by refusing to be dragged into such an unnecessary provocation from Jammeh. If Jammeh is acting outside international law and treaties to behave otherwise to settle political score with the administration in Dakar, it behooves on President Sall as a leader, to take the necessary corrective measures to resolve the matter. That’s what we expect from any responsible leader.
Leadership is about courage and decisiveness. Issues relating to border dispute should not be handled lightly. Macky Sall should demonstrate to Senegalese that he is competent to lead them in times of challenges.
But sadly, Mr. Sall has not only reduced himself as a “spectator” over the border debacle, he has proven that Yahya Jammeh is a thorn in the flesh against his leadership. His Ambassador visiting the border is not sufficient enough to resolve the matter. What we expect from President Sall is to summon the press and communicate Senegal’s position on the matter. The Senegalese people deserve to know what is happening around their own backyard. He should also send a protest letter to the United Nations, the African Union, including ECOWAS, the very institution that he headed to inform them about Jammeh’s latest madness.
There is no justification in Jammeh’s forced occupation of the Tranquil border village. Mr. Jammeh is capitalizing on a possible leadership void in Senegal to promote his malicious agenda. He knew that Macky Sall will never standup to his BS!
Senegal needs a charismatic, courageous, and decisive leader. All successive Senegalese leaders have had an over edge against Yahya Jammeh, with the exception of Macky Sall. Macky should revisit his diplomatic culture towards Jammeh and engage him heads on. Failure of which, Senegal will continue to lead from behind under Macky’s watch. We rest our case!