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Gambian academic tells new Senegalese prez to remove troops

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By Omar Bah

A Gambian political science researcher has urged the new Senegalese president to facilitate the withdrawal of his nation’s troops from The Gambia.
Dr Jimmy Hendry Nzally, a lecturer at Vrje University in Belgium, said President Bassirou Diomaye Faye should know that Gambians want Ecomig forces which include a sizeable Senegalese contingent, to leave immediately.
Dr Nzally told The Standard yesterday: “The Afrobarometer report of 2021 indicated this national outcry! The Gambia is a free, democratic, and independent state. Concretely, we are not a peripheral region of Senegal. The question is: what is The Gambia country’s security interest in keeping Ecomig forces and for how long?”
He said since 2017, Ecomig has been dominated by Senegalese troops.
“This undermines the national security of the country. This was supposed to have been avoided with the national security reform. But the question is yet again, what has been the outcome of the security reform?” he queried.

Lessons
Dr Nzally said the recent political developments in Senegal should serve as eye-opener to opposition leaders in The Gambia.
“At the heart of this debate is an informed citizenry that can connect and participate in national politics. An opposition coalition is paramount to ending autocratic rule in the case of The Gambia or any sign of it, as was creeping in Senegal. Thus, national interests should supersede party politics. A youth-driven agenda is a catalyst for a massive political movement, as demonstrated in Senegal…” he said.
He added that credit should be given to the political leaders who helped usher in the country’s first-ever democratic transition in 2016.
“But a new breed of leadership should now be embraced! Therefore, political parties such as CA could have been a greater hope in post-dictatorship to complement the gains of the 2016 political transition. In this regard, an informed youth citizenry is now more ever needed for a better Gambia. Looking into the near and not too distant future, the old guards should be prepared to give way to young, hungry, and informed leaders to take charge of the political leaderships in their respective parties,” he advised.

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