Pa, Did Yaya Jammeh Bite Off More Than He Can Chew? Two Senegalese newspapers (L’Observateur and Walf) are today reporting that the complaint that was lodged by the government of Yaya Jammeh at the Ecowas has been dismissed for lack of merit and instead blamed Mr. Jammeh for initiating the tariff increase without fulfilling the conditions of the Ecowas Convention relating to inter-state re-export trade and transportation of goods between member states.

It would be recalled that Yaya Jammeh filed a complaint at the Ecowas accusing the Senegalese government of having imposed a blockade on the borders with Gambia affecting the free movement of goods entering and leaving Gambia. Following this complaint, Ecowas sent an investigation team to Banjul (on 5 and 6 April) and to Dakar (on 7 and 8 April). This report was produced after the visit by the investigating team who unanimously condemned the government of Yaya Jammeh for the crisis and urged the two countries to dialogue. But since Jammeh is insisting on opening the borders first before dialogue this crisis can continue indefinitely.

There is no denying that the length of the border impasse continues to wreak havoc on the Gambian economy, while there is yet any evidence to suggest that the blockage is having serious impact on the side of the Senegalese which is in sharp contrast to the misinformation and blatant distortion of the facts by GRTS reporters sent on secret missions to various places in Senegal to bend and twist the facts and the realities on the ground. If these quasi journalists were Senegalese doing the same thing in the Gambia would have been arrested and paraded on GRTS to show the whole world that they were spying on Gambia. But thank God Senegal is a genuine democratic country. 

In an effort to blunt the impact of the blockage, Jammeh has turned GRTS’ journalists and certain Senegalese celebrities into spin doctors to sway public opinion negatively on Macky Sall. It is ridiculous to report that the Senegalese are anxious to see the border open and featured a headline that was picked up from one of the daily Senegalese newspapers featuring the Khalifa of Medina Bai Niass urging the two leaders to open the borders. That was a falsified report because that piece was almost three weeks ago before the siarreh at Taiba Niassene. How can such intelligent person like Ebrima Baldeh be filing such inaccurate reports only to mislead the Gambian people? It is slanderous to engage in a bent and twisted journalism especially when it is now known that that report was never filmed in Dakar. The truth is that the border closure has no impact on the Senegalese economy unlike what we are seeing happening in Gambia.

In fact going by what the regional president of the Senegalese transporters and drivers’ union of Sedhiou, Mr. Modou Fall, on an interview with a Senegalese online newspaper, Seneweb, he said that all the drivers plying the route to and from the southern side of Senegal have now taken a common position not to use the trans-Gambia crossing anymore even if the border between the two countries is open. He cited the difficulties they have been facing such as the prolonged delays – that can go beyond three days sometimes before crossing with the ferries – and the harassment they received from the border officials from the Gambia side. He said that they now prefer to circulate in their own country buying Senegalese goods, water, food, clothes etc. and facing less hassle form Gambian customs or immigration.

The most insidious aspect of the closure have been reported by certain Gambian institutions that are now losing massive revenues due to the border closure. The solution to the border crisis is not to engage in a vigorous misinformation campaign against the president of Senegal or to massively print money to bridge the widening fiscal gap created by an erratic leader known for making impulsive irrational decisions with far reaching economic consequences, but by appreciating the geographical realities of the two countries and taking advantage of close economic collaboration as well as social togetherness between the same people living in two countries able to successfully turning their close ties as a good model for African integration.

Macky Sall has succeeded in putting governance at the center of his development plans while Yaya Jammeh is taking delight in murder and mayhem to develop himself. Getting rid of Jammeh just like what Tanzania did to Idi Amin is the only option left to save the region for imploding cataclysmic collapse. Yaya Jammeh has bitten more than he can chew and no amount of fictional reporting and spinning can the country moving. When diplomacy ends war begins!

Written By An Insider Banjul

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