Banjul, The Gambia— A leading Gambian politician Omar Amadou Jallow, says dictator Yahya Jammeh’s move to increase the ferry tariffs to almost one hundred percent, was not only an economic suicide on the side of the dictator, but an affront to the recovery of Gambia’s almost dead economy. Mr. Jallow, speaking from his home in Pipeline, told Freedom Radio Gambia’s Sunday Leral Show that none of the economic measures or polices taken by Yahya Jammeh since coming to power twenty one years ago, through a coup, has make any sense to him, and the Gambian populace. Hence, OJ opines that the border closure would no doubt spell an economic doom for Jammeh and his liability regime.
The firebrand politician, who onetime served as an Agriculture Minister under Jawara’s thirty years rule, pointed out that the Senegalese government, has never closed the border contrary to claims being made in some quarters within the Jammeh administration. Senegal, he went on, refused to be exploited economically by the Jammeh dictatorship. Hence, the Senegalese transport union decided to stop using the Gambian ferries in protest against the exorbitant ferry tariffs introduced by the regime in Banjul, he added.
According to OJ, Yahya Jammeh’s lack of good leadership qualities, foresight, vision, and virtue, has exposed innocent Gambians into such an economic mess. He says the border closure has rendered many Gambian economic destitute, as trade and movement of the people within the Senegambian region, has been brought to a complete halt—thanks to Jammeh’s idiocy.
OJ also took a swipe at the Imam Ratib of Banjul Cherno Kah, who recently served as Jammeh’s emissary to Senegal. Mr. Kah was tasked with meeting with the religious leaders in Koalack, and Touba, so that he can plead with them to use their influence over the Macky government to reopen the border.
For OJ, Imam Cherno Kah, is overstepping his bounds as a religious leader. He argued that Cherno Kah, should instead concentrate on religious affairs, than meddling into politics adding that the border crisis is political.
“Religious leaders should demonstrate impartiality on matters relating to politics. For Cherno Kah, to be used by Yahya Jammeh, to lobby for him in Senegal, so that the border can be reopened, in my, view amounts to disservice to the nation on the side of Imam Kah. There is a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is the job and responsibility of the Foreign Ministry to handle matters of such nature. Cherno Kah is definitely overstepping his bounds as a religious leader. Unless, he wants to tell us that he is now a politician,” OJ posited.
Mr. Cherno Kah, has earlier told this medium that he was sent to Senegal, to lobby the religious leaders in the French speaking nation so that the border can be reopened. He lamented that the border closure is causing discomfort for travelers from both countries. He also said Gambian diplomatic vehicles are being denied entry from the other side of the Senegalese border.
For OJ, Cherno Kah’s explanation is not sufficient enough for him to execute errands on behalf of the Kanilai jester. He said the regime in Banjul, is behaving as if they don’t know what they are doing.
“I seriously wonder if there is a functional Foreign Ministry in this country. This regime is an inept government. It is only in The Gambia that an Imam Ratib, is being used to execute the functions of the government,” OJ said.
Still commenting on the border closure, OJ said back in 2005, Yahya Jammeh’s regime made the same blunder by increasing the ferry tariffs without factoring the plight of the Senegalese commuters. Senegalese transporters, he said, diverted their route to Tamba-Kunda in protest.
OJ also used the interview to condemn the government’s handling of the death of Sheriff Dibba, a member of the recently banned Gambia National Transport Control Association. OJ, said the government should investigate and bring to book the people responsible for Dibba’s demise. Mr. Dibba died while he was under the custody of the police, he said.
Regarding the upcoming elections, OJ said without an opposition unity, dictator Jammeh cannot be defeated at the ballot box. He urged his colleagues in the opposition to unite in the interest of bailing out the country, from Jammeh’s misrule.
OJ pointed out that if the opposition fails to come together before the elections, the PPP, would be left with no other alternative, besides sponsoring a Presidential candidate. He said he would reserve the name of their potential flag bearer for now, until the opposition is able to figure out a candidate, who is going to lead the proposed alliance.
OJ noted that the UDP being the main opposition party in the country, should always endeavor to reach out to the other parties in the spirit of uniting the opposition. He pointed that the UDP has never been that proactive in trying to engage his party to form an alliance including the other existing parties. OJ wants the UDP to draw lessons from other neighboring countries, if they seriously want to see an end to dictatorship in The Gambia. For example, OJ, said Senegal, and elsewhere in Africa, democratic change of governments was possible because the parties with the largest following were at lead in spearheading an opposition merger in the aforementioned countries.
Notwithstanding, OJ, is optimistic that there is still the possibility of the opposition to form an alliance before the December, 2016 polls. Failure of which, he warns could lead to the entrenchment of the Jammeh dictatorship in the country. He also noted that the opposition should blame themselves if Jammeh emerges victorious in the coming polls adding that in the absence of an opposition merger, it would be foolhardy for any of the parties to think they can unseat Jammeh through the ballot box.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai