Please allow me space in your newspaper to express my opinion on the whole idea of integration between The Gambia and Senegal which has gained renewed currency and traction.
I must first and foremost, register my disappointment with the whole conference, ranging from the organisation to the response of the people of both countries, the government officials in particular. It came to me as a shock when I learned that the issue of the routine border closure between the two countries, which causes massive financial losses for the people of both countries, was not put on the table for discussion. How on earth and in this modern era of integration can countries yearn for integration without promoting free movement of goods and persons across their common frontiers?
It is indeed apparent that one of the current stumbling blocks to Senegambia integration is the frequent border closures between the two countries perpetrated by the Senegalese government and trade union in the overwhelming majority of cases. I believe the conference, in many ways, represented a massive opportunity that could be used to discuss such an alarmingly frequent yet very important issue and come up with very strong recommendations to end such a problem. But this was the opposite.
Secondly and more to my earlier point, the attendance of government personnel was equally not impressive. This is not an encouraging sign but rather a discouraging one. It should be the fundamental objective and goal of both governments to foster integration between the governments and people of the two countries. The role of the two governments in this endeavour cannot be over-emphasised owing to the crucial role they have played and continue to play in the evolution of their ties.
Thirdly, it is imperative that the brains behind the so-called “Great Senegambia Debate” and the whole idea of integration to critically, thoroughly and analytically examine the possible areas of integration between The Gambia and Senegal. Integration is not an end in itself but rather a process that is not easily achieved hence the need for concessions and sacrifices.
Finally, it is my utmost conviction that the idea of integration will only remain a pipe dream unless there is unalloyed mutual commitment to the cause. The organising of the debates or conferences will be useless we continue failing to come up with tangible, feasible and workable solutions to our common challenges.
On the kingship debate
Please avail me space in your widely read newspaper to give a befitting reply to the deputies clamouring for kingship in this modern day and age. They have shown the whole world that they are not au fait with the constitution of the land of which they voted to defend at all cost. Messrs Abdoulie Saine and Babou Sonko, please bring your thoughts closer to home because they are light years away from reality and the reasons you advanced are just blank and tasteless. It does not require much intelligence to know the distinction between a monarchical system and a republican system. The sovereignty of the nation resides in the former whilst the sovereignty of the nation resides in the people in the latter set-up. This is the truth and should be accepted in toto and in all its manifestations. I for one, I am hereby openly turning down my share of this national insult.
Former independent candidate