Gambia’s De Facto dictator Yahya Jammeh, has accused the Senegalese government of recklessly closing the border on eight consecutive times without any justification since he came to power in July of 1994, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mr. Jammeh, who was seeing off the visiting Guinean President Conde, told pressmen at the airport that both present and past Senegalese governments, have been closing the border each time they wished without giving due regards to sub-regional protocol and international treaties. Mr. Jammeh said he is not going to negotiate for the reopening of the border saying that Gambia’s side of the border is not closed.
The controversial Kanilai despot said he has been quiet all this while following the border impasse because he doesn’t saw the need to comment on a matter which has been occasioned by Senegal itself. He accuses Senegalese Customs agents of imposing exorbitant tariffs against Gambian travelers prior to the border impasse. This he said, prompted Gambia’s retaliation to increase its ferry tariffs to ten folds.
“We charged them the same thing that they charged Gambian trucks. So they have no reason to say Gambians arbitrarily raised the tariff. After all the complaints.. We complained to them they said they are not aware of that. We say okay… you are not aware of it and it is your Customs that are collecting it.. We will also reciprocate. So The Gambia, has not done anything wrong,” Jammeh said.
Jammeh told the Guinean leader that Senegalese are suffering more compared to Gambians, when it comes to the border closure. Jammeh, who sounded condescending in his speech said he has decided to bury the hatchets since his “big brother” from Guinea, has pleaded with him. He noted that he hates to see people to suffer, while claiming that he (Jammeh) is a Pan-Africanist.
Mr. Jammeh repeatedly maintained that the Senegalese government should be blamed for the border closure. He even warned the Macky government to be at least sensitive to the plight of their nationals using The Gambia as an economic fortune. He noted that despite Senegal’s hostility towards his rule, he has accommodated almost one million Senegalese in The Gambia.
“We have more than 950,000 Senegalese in this country and we have less than 5,000 Senegalese in Senegal. You go to our markets, they are all Senegalese. You go to Sang-Ndaga, you don’t find a single Gambian there,” Jammeh posited.
Mr. Jammeh also said none of the Senegalese residing in The Gambia, has been required to pay alien tax. Jammeh sounded as if he was sending a warning to the Macky Sall regime. That if the Macky government fails to observe the basic rules of being a good neighbor to The Gambia, he may as well expel the 950,000 Senegalese that he claimed are using The Gambia as an economic hub.
The Gambia is currently faced with an economic crunch. But Jammeh thinks that he can use the Senegalese aliens residing in the country, as a bargaining chip with the Macky government. Jammeh’s referencing of the 950,000 Senegalese residing in The Gambia, is a desperate attempt on his part to make the Macky government to subdue to him.
There are all indication suggesting that if the border impasse remains unresolved, Jammeh may resort to carrying out his threat of expelling Senegalese from The Gambia. Jammeh should not be underestimated. He is a mad dictator, who is capable of doing anything to avenge his anger.
Mr. Jammeh’s absurd remarks followed a meeting between his Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall Gaye and her Senegalese counterpart in Senegal to find a lasting solution to the border impasse. Jammeh dropped the bombshell few hours before the Dakar border meeting.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai