SENEGALESE MP CISSÉ CLARIFIES GAMBIA ID CARD COMMENTS

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By Lamin Cham

Senegalese MP Oumar Souvane Cissé of Bounkiling in the Sédhiou Region of Senegal, who last week disclosed that many people in his area have acquired Gambian ID cards, has reached out to The Standard, saying he wants to clarify his statement.

In a video released last week, Cissé called on the Senegalese authorities to devise means for people in his area to acquire special ID cards because most of them have acquired Gambian ID cards which he said is relatively easy to get especially during election times. He expresses his fear that unless the government helps the people of the area with ID cards they could all become Gambians.

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His comments drew widespread comments from Gambians from all walks life including politicians.

Worried about the various interpretation of his comments, Cissé shared an audio exclusively with The Standard in which he addressed Gambians who may have “misconstrued” the meaning and objective of his comments.

Cissé admitted that he indeed made the statement and apologised to anyone who may have found it offensive.

“I was actually addressing our Minister for the Interior who was present. I was telling him that unless they help the people in my area who find it hard to acquire Senegalese ID cards, they may all end up taking Gambian ID cards. My people suffer a lot including travelling to Kolda if they could not find lodgings in Dakar to apply for ID cards and I was urging the right authorities to look into that otherwise the people will be compelled to look for ID cards from a place like The Gambia where it is easier to acquire them to enable them to access services like health care,” Cisse said. He said at the same event he had told the authorities about the need for a hospital in the area because all the people there go to The Gambia for health care. “But again this is all possible because of the cordial and blood relations between the people of the two countries. I personally have very strong links with The Gambia and Gambians. Whatever we organise in Ndiamacouta we always invite or involve the Governor of Lower River Region in Mansakonko. All this show we have strong relationships which I want to continue. I want to apologise to all Gambians who may feel offended by what I have said. I have no intention to anger anyone or cause concern for any group in The Gambia,” Cissé stressed.

He added that he did not make the statement to address or raise any issue about Gambian politics or Senegalese politics even though he understands that people would naturally link it to politics.