Please allow me space in your widely read newspaper to comment on The Gambia-Senegal border issue. This is indeed appalling and is a cause of concern to the people of both countries.
First and foremost, it is nothing but the mischief of colonialism that brought about the separation of our two peoples into The Gambia and Senegal. The evil of colonialism has geographically segregated the two countries who in actual sense share a lot in common as people of a common race and identity.
As signatories to the Ecowas Protocols on Free Movement of Goods and People and related supplementary protocols signed in 1979, 1985 and 1986 respectively, the two countries must adhere to this international agreement and implement it to the letter. These protocols are geared towards promoting integration through mobility.
I totally agree with the position of Mr Pierre Minteh as reported in your issue of Friday, 25th April 2014. Senegal cannot be allowed to play the bully and get away with it. The frequent border closures they orchestrate does not augur well for good neighbourliness.
All sound-minded and patriotic Gambians agree with Mr Minteh when he said the Senegalese action smacks of insincerity. Where on earth can one man – the leader of a transport union – open and close an important international border whenever he likes it and reopen it when he likes it? As Mr Minteh rightly stated, Macky Sall and his people should man up and take up their responsibilities or stop hiding behind the so-called transport union in their diabolical attempts to wreak havoc on the Gambian economy and make the people suffer.
The problem can never be solved by the Gambian and Senegalese transport people, but rather by the two governments sitting in one room at one table and sorting out whatever is the problem.
Senegal should know that if it wants to hurt The Gambia, it will end up hurting its own people more. Senegal needs The Gambia than The Gambia needs Senegal.
Republican day – A time to reflect
Please allow me to write in your paper to remind my fellow Gambians about an important day in our country’s political history. The day is 24th April. It was on this date in 1970 when The Gambia was declared a republic, following a referendum which decided in favour of the country becoming a republic.
This resulted in the creation of the post of a president. Sir Dawda Jawara, who took the country to independence five years before in 1965 and became prime minister, became the first president, replacing the governor general representing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. The attainment of republican status brought an end to monarchical rule in the country.
Let us not forget that the 1970 Referendum was the second attempt by the People’s Progressive Party regime. The first attempt, in 1965, has failed to meet the required majority.
April 24, 1970, was therefore a moment of great joy and celebration. It was also when great souls and minds were awakened and rejuvenated once more for further expansion and diversification of efforts to see a totally free Gambia from the fetters of colonial rule.
In The Gambia today, we celebrate every February 18 as ‘Independence Day’. This is indeed an important moment in our political history and struggle as a country. For it was the day we attained self-governing status. Unfortunately, today, many Gambians have forgotten April 24. The day is not given the recognition and value it deserves.
As once commented by the late Assan Musa Camara, former vice president of The Gambia, “Republican day primarily calls for nothing but patriotism, love, determination, commitment and sacrifice from us all to develop and move this country forward.”
Independence day is the birth of the nation, while Republican day marks our complete independence from all foreign domination. This is because even though the British had us declared independent on February 18, 1965, the governor general remained the representative of her majesty.
Therefore, it was in April 1970 when the referendum succeeded and the colonial perpetrators were legally obliged to pack up their files and vacate land that belongs to a people of common identity and vision.
Indeed we should value this day as it had brought a glimmer of hope in our quest for the total emancipation of our dear motherland. It is exactly 44 years after the unfettering of the country from colonialism and imperial domination that the Queen ceased to be our head of state. And we finally had our president and government! Bravo to the indefatigable freedom fighters and heroes for their gallantry and bravery. Long live peace! Long live our sovereignty! Long live the Gambia. God bless the Gambia for forever more.
Mam Kumba Sarr