The people of Senegal and The Gambia have everything in common. As commentators do not hesitate to point out, the only differences we have as a people are the borders that were delineated by the former colonial masters and their languages bequeathed to us. It is not surprising that it is these very borders that have become the main sources of friction between the two sisterly countries.
It’s only timely that we have citizens of the two countries coming together to consolidate the special ties that bind us. While the Sene-Gambia of governments have failed, the Sene-Gambia of peoples is alive and very well.
The Senegalese-Gambia Association for Intergation and Socio-economic Development which is organising a symposium in a bid to strengthen that special geo-cultural relationship is indeed very commendable.
The cultural, social and religious similarities which bind the two countries should spur the governments to seek ways of better political interaction. The citizens of the two countries have to take a pioneering role in coming up with initiatives that will solidify our celebrated commonness. It has become ever more important to encourage grassroots movements to outline a workable paradigm of engagement.
Previous efforts by our governments have not achieved their intended objectives. The initial Senegalo-Gambian Secretariat was created shortly after The Gambia gained independence in 1965. But this dispensation gave way to the Senegambia Confederation. This was to be a catalyst for the much-needed pan-Africanist ideal of African unity. But it eventually crumbled. Now, the Senegalo-Gambian Secretariat has been revived. Besides that, we also have joint ministerial and joint-border commissions that have been created to address border and bilateral issues.
If we are to meticulously follow this methodology then the day is not far off when the African continent will see the glorious unity that was the dream of the founding fathers of the Organisation for African Unity.
Uniting the peoples of the two countries will also be a triumphant achievement for the continuous decolonisation of Africa from the clutches of the hidden hand of the neo-colonial perpetrators. At a time when Africans are realising more than ever the treachery of the former colonial masters, in trying to reinvent the wheel in subtle ways to continue exploiting the continent. Unless there is a move as this one, uniting at the grassroots, it will be a tough struggle to stop the tide of looting of our resources, which is perpetrated mainly through disuniting us and turning us into dysfunctional and non-viable states.
So at the core of the Senegambian dream for unity, both at the leadership level and the grassroots, is the actualisation of the dream for African unity. The move to unite and defy the odds put in place by borders, is a brave one, which should not be beaten down by anything. The ensuing challenges from a political and economic viewpoint however should be dealt with in a way that doesn’t jeopardise the position of both countries as independent states.]]>