By Omar Bah
Commune de Mbao in partnership with the Kanifing Municipal Council, KMC, recently commenced a two-week youth summer camp under the theme “using sport to build sustainable peace in Senegambia”.
The camp, which is underway at Lac Rose Villars in Dakar hosted by the mayor of Mbao in collaboration with his community, brings together at least one hundred Senegambian youths under the age of fourteen.
Last year KMC hosted their Senegalese counterparts in Banjul for the first edition of the youth summer camp.
Speaking to The Standard at the Lac Rose Villars, KMC Mayor Yankuba Colley said the camp which was conceived few years back is meant to bring the youths within the two countries together with the common goal of building sustainable peace.
“This is just one among many plans we intend to come up with in the coming years. We are also planning to extend the linkage to the women of the two communities. We believe if we are able to bring these folks on one table nothing will be able to separate the two countries,” he said.
He said though subsequent camps will not find him as mayor, he will recommend for his successor to continue where he stopped. “I will recommend whosoever takes over the mantle from me to keep this relationship because it is not political and I see no reason why it should not be embraced by any genuine Gambian.”
“I will take the border closure during the previous regime as an example to tell Gambians why the partnership between the two councils and other councils in Senegal is paying dividend,” he said.
He said immediately the borders were closed he contacted the Mbao mayor and the other mayors in Senegal who signed an MoU with KMC to come over in Banjul and look for a solution to the problem. “I can tell you, it is because of those discussions the borders were reopened.”
“You see, if this partnership was political, I would not have been able to continue coming to Mbao when the then president was not in good terms with the Senegalese president. Despite all the difficulties between the countries then, my council continued to build this relationship to another level because it is a genuine cause,” he added.
He also took time to congratulate the mayor of Mbao for his movement’s overwhelming victory in the parliamentary election.
On his council’s progress, Colley said KMC has registered tremendous progress over the years, adding: “My council is the only council that has built a high school in this country as part of our efforts in national development, especially in the education sector.”
Meanwhile the mayor of Mbao, Abdoulie Pouye, said the relationship between his council and the KMC is a fruitful one and will continue to bring the two countries together.
“Yes we used to have some difficulties especially during the former regime but I believe some of those misunderstandings could have been avoided in the first place,” he said.
He said the camp is designed to ensure the youths of the two countries are involved in peace-building to avoid the misunderstandings that occurred during the previous regimes, even before the coming of former President Jammeh.
While extending his especial thanks to the Gambian people on behalf of the Senegalese president, Mayor Pouye said the two countries will continue to build very strong ties especially in the new dispensation.