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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

Re: Senegambia Integration

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I want to thank Dr Jeggan C Senghore for once again sharing his informed reflections on the Senegambia integration. As a reader of The Standard, I missed his brilliant write-ups about the politicisation of two different nation-states – Senegal and The Gambia. 

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One may disagree that we are the same people. However, that division is more apparent with the introduction of the colonial statehood in this one geopolitical entity based on trade and other interests of the colonisers. This has succeeded in creating a once uniquely united people into two distinct groups of people, who despite sharing histories and culture, values and tribes, find themselves under two different power groups – France and Britain.

The projects mentioned by Dr Senghore in the article entitled ‘Senegalo-Gambia relations: Continuities in the past and the future’, published in The Standard last Monday, in my view are some testimonies of the people of the two countries’ attempt, despite shortcomings and failures, to resist a colonial wedge driven between the two countries’ people to have them perpetually divided. The Gambia and Senegal may have verbal conflicts between our political leaderships now and then, but the people of the two countries, in continuing to resist the same division, have shown maturity and resisted any temptations to draw arms against each other. 

This for me, is commendable, and our governments should do whatever is necessary to conserve the peaceful co-existence we enjoy. 

In one of my trips to eastern Africa, an aviation specialist from Djibouti asked how we have managed to live peacefully even when The Gambia has ended up being a tiny enclave in Senegal. I told him what binds the two people are greater than the forces that divided them. He asked whether the two countries have ever gone to war over territories, I explained that it had never happened! Well, I may be wrong here but to show the brother and gentleman from the Horn of Africa that we are successful colonial project, I boasted that the peoples have always resisted this and mostly end up forcing our governments to sit down and talk when conflicts arise.

For me, that is the spirit. In Dakar, I learnt that former President Wade, as the then opposition leader at the time of President Diouf, insisted on a referendum for the political treaty on Senegambia to be conducted, rather than doing a political confederation without the full participation of the people. I understood also that Halifa Sallah of PDOIS took the same position on the confederation. 

Obviously, the historical commentaries need to be consolidated in order for us the young to understand the importance of the efforts of the older generation in resisting the divisive efforts of our colonisers. A confederation designed and implemented by our political leaders and elites without the participation of our peoples is bound to be unsustainable and eventually fail. 

In our case in Senegambia, the spirit of unity is already there. What the leaders need to do is find tangible ways of working it into a synergy for the purpose.

 

Alhasan Camara

Serekunda

 

Wrong facts

 

Dear editor,

 

Kindly allow me space in your highly respected newspaper to comment on your “Profiles in Faith” article on the venerable Imam Muhammad Lamin Bah which appeared in the issue of 10 July 2014.

I was surprised to see that most of the dates given were wrong; even the name of Imam Muhammad Lamin Bah’s mother was wrong!! Her name was given as FATOU Tambedou when in fact she was ISATOU Tambedou.

Alhaji Wakka did not die in 1953 but rather in 1923; and he was imam for just one year. Alhaji Wakka was succeeded by Imam Omar Sowe in 1923 and the latter died in 1937.

Omar Sowe was succeeded by his nephew Imam Marma Tumaneh Bah who in turn was succeeded by Imam Muhammad Lamin Bah in 1953. Imam Marma Tumaneh Bah died on Thursday 18 June 1953.

As one of the most respected Newspapers in the country I am appealing to you to be extra careful about some of the facts you print. Thank you for the space.

Abdou Rahman Bah

Son of Imam Marma Tumaneh Bah

4 19th Street South

Fajara ‘F’ Section

 

Editor’s note: We thank Mr Bah for setting the records. It has also been pointed out to us that article on Sheikh Umar Faye contained a number of factual inaccuracies as well as a wrong photo. The writer apologises for any inconvenience caused to the Faye family. We will run a corrected version later in the week. 

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