By Omar Bah
UDP leader Ousainu Darboe has suggested that the Ecomig forces, especially the Senegalese contingent in the country, should start working closely with the Gambia Armed Forces to address the current tension in Foni where they are based.
Speaking in a Standard exclusive on general matters over the weekend, Mr Darboe said: “We believe that anything Senegal is doing in this country particularly in the security sector, should be done in conjunction with our security officers. I think they should work together so that all these hiccups that we are experiencing will not happen. I do not believe that the presence of Ecomig is a carte blanche for any foreign security personnel to operate as if they are operating in their own territory. I think they should operate in conjunction with our security officers; after all their whole objective is securing peace and stability but they cannot do it better than those who are primarily employed by the Government of The Gambia to do so”.
Darboe added that there might be “occasions when either the Senegalese or Ecomig forces have gone beyond the line. I think they should have stopped in certain situations and let the Gambian security step in”.
Asked whether Senegal’s influence on Gambia of recent could be justified by Dakar’s sacrifices for the Gambia especially in 1981, the UDP leader argued: “What Senegal did in 1981 was just responding to the biblical command love thy neighbor as thyself. So, Gambia was in a situation where its neighbor Senegal needed to step in. So really, they did it for themselves because if that abortive coup had succeeded and the way things were going in The Gambia, the consequences could have also affected Senegal adversely. So I believe that what Senegal did was helping the Gambia but also self-serving because their own interest was also protected.”
On the UDP’s allegations of electoral fraud, Darboe said the UDP has provided lead for interested Gambians who want to see a better system in the country to use that lead to carry out further investigations. “We would ask others who could make use of our lead and carry out further investigations and then after that maybe seek advice on what could be done legally to cleanse this polluted register,” he said.
On the mounting cries about corruption in government, Mr Darboe said: “We heard at GPA about D4 million has been lost almost every seven months or so. How could that happen? But then, if someone were only to show an anti-NPP feeling within the ports authority, the person would have been instantly identified and dropped. Why is it that such massive corruption has been going on for all this time without anybody noticing? Do they not have intelligence within the ports? What is the use of the SIS? Are they too part of the corruption and are therefore unable to pick it up or talk about it?” Darboe teased.