By Amadou Jadama
The leader of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress has appealed to Senegalese President Macky Sall to stop sending soldiers to The Gambia. “We are not at war. We don’t want your soldiers in our country. We have our military and they can take care of our security,” Mamma Kandeh told supporters in Farafenni on Saturday. He said President Sall should know that the country has more pressing issues that need urgent attention. Recently, Senegal changed its contingent under the Ecomig mandate. The sight of the soldiers has prompted people to say it is a fresh deployment but both Senegal and The Gambia have clarified that it is a replacement.
Kandeh continued to address the Senegalese president: “President Sall, I don’t know whether your brother President Adama Barrow has told you that hospitals in The Gambia do not have medicine and because of that our women are dying in labour and we don’t even have gloves in our hospitals. These are the pressing things we want in this country now and not soldiers or weapons,” Kandeh said, in response to the continued presence of Senegalese forces in the country under Ecomig. Kandeh further said that if President Sall is at all interested in helping the Gambia he should help the country in areas that would benefit its people.
“Deploying soldiers and weapons into the country will never solve the issues we face in our health, education, and other sectors. We have our police and soldiers. We don’t need Senegalese soldiers in this country. But it is Barrow who has failed because instead of engaging his soldiers he continues to see them as Jammeh loyalists. But I can assure you that Barrow is going this year,” he said. He warned that if Gambian voters made the mistake of voting Barrow in December, they would regret it in daylight.
Kandeh said if Barrow feels he has the support he should not have coalesced with APRC. “Jawara was here for 30 years, he never sought supporters from other parties and Jammeh likewise,” he said.
He urged the GDC supporters to remain disciplined.
Commenting on the Guinea Conakry coup, Kandeh blasted Ecowas for not addressing the root causes of coups in West Africa.
At least 140 supporters of the NPP together with its Niamina West secretary Yahya Bah reportedly joined the GDC at the rally.