By Aisha Tamba
Imam Baba Leigh has criticised the delay in traffic caused by the presidential motorcade of Adama Barrow as unacceptable.
The outspoken imam said motorcades holding traffic and police instructing drivers to leave roads should be a thing of the past and that it should no longer be tolerated in The Gambia.
He was speaking at a stakeholder dialogue on road safety, following a surge in traffic accidents, as the country registers at least 20 deaths every month, according to the EFSTH.
“Recently, the president was traveling to Guinea Equatorial and the traffic was closed from 8 o’clock to 1 o’clock. What is the need for that? All vehicles plying the road [were forced] to use one lane. Some passengers are sick, others have issues, [while] some need to ease themselves. [But they cannot] because the president [is] traveling.”
Imam Leigh argued that this “rarely makes sense”.
He said he had to call the IGP that such delays are unacceptable.
“I called him that this is not right, that it should not [be] tolerated. I told him the president has left and that they should open the traffic, but they never did up till 1pm.”
He said it was such practices that Gambians fought against during the Jammeh regime. “We were against the previous regime because of this type of abuse. We cannot tolerate it anymore. We have not been tolerating it before much more now.”
He added that the former president used to close down the Tallinding, Fajara, and Bijilo high-ways at the same time.
“After five to six hours the roads will be released. It is not normal. We share equal rights. We give privilege to our leaders, but let it not be overused,” he said.
The stakeholder dialogue was aimed at bringing critical actors in the transport sector as well as other stakeholders to discuss road safety.