Fifty-eight years ago, today, the Republic of Senegal gained her independence from her colonial master, France. Since then, every 4th of April has been celebrated as the day that they gained their independence and self-rule. Senegal is the only neighbor that the Gambia shares borders with. However, the neighborhood is not only territorial but also in terms of relationships and shared heritage.
Almost every Gambian has relatives in Senegal and vice versa. We speak the same languages, share the same culture and traditions and have good political and economic relationships. By virtue of proximity, no one can enter into the Gambia without passing through Senegal, be it by land, sea or through the air. Thus, cementing the ties between these two countries can only be of great benefits to both our peoples.
Additionally, thousands of Senegalese live in the Gambia and the reverse is true as well. There are a lot of intermarriages between the two nations and a lot of economic activities go on within the two. Whatever happens in Senegal affects the Gambia either directly or indirectly. Similarly, whatever happens in the Gambia affects Senegal.
This is why the two governments and peoples have to come together and form a strong alliance which will serve the peoples of both countries. The two countries can – should – cooperate in the areas of peace building, security, economy, culture and social cohesion. For, one of them attaining one of these objectives without the other is untenable.
Historically, these two nations have ever been interconnected. They were only separated by the colonialist – one going with the French and the other with the British. This is what brought about the differences in official languages as the Senegalese use French while the Gambians use English Language.
This however should not be an obstacle when it comes to diplomatic relationships as our connection predates colonialism. As Africans, we should look at the relationship that has existed for hundreds of years and seek to strengthen it for the good of all.
Happy Independence Anniversary to the People and Government of Senegal!