Opinion: Has the sovereignty of The Gambia been sold?
Has the sovereignty of The Gambia been sold?
Looking at the way events have been unfolding recently in our Motherland the Gambia, I am compelled to ask the above captioned question. Of recent, foreigners have the guts to do what citizens dare not: They could break our laws and get away with the crime without the slightest fear of any repercussion/punishment. Are we not being treated like second-class citizens in our own backyard when foreigners can commit crimes and get away with them, but we would be punished severely when we do the same or similar things as bona fide citizens?
I was listening to news on a local radio station recently when I heard of the story of supposed two Lebanese nationals who threatened to run over a police officer who tried to stop them after they had refused to fasten their seat belts. A Gambian taxi driver who witnessed the whole scene tried to assist the police officer by crossing his car in front of that of the supposed Lebanese only to find himself in very hot soup: the taxi driver was later arrested, detained and taken to court for obstruction of traffic after the supposed Lebanese phoned a senior police officer who ordered their immediate and unconditional release saying they (the Lebanese) do help in the renovations of police quarters. As far as I am concerned, Musa Camara, the taxi driver, was only performing his civic duties by helping a police officer to apprehend a law breaker and a foreigner who had no regard and respect for our law enforcement agents.
Our country is now a free zone for intrusion by the security forces of Senegal who can freely cross our borders to shoot and arrest citizens without any interference of our government. I would cite few such examples here: Senegalese military convoy once tried to cross the newly built Senegambia bridge in Farafenni and when they were asked to pay fees like every other person would do including citizens, they did not only blatantly refused but threatened to shoot at whoever tried to stand in their way. Thanks to the timely intervention of the late IGP Mamour Jobe who paid for their crossing to de-escalate the tension. Should the crossing of the bridge be made free for Senegalese military personnel when our people, including our parliamentarians, have to pay to cross the same bridge?
Gendarmerie personnel from Senegal crossed our national borders again to shoot at a Gambian national on Gambian soil in the upper river region of the Basse administrative area and took him away to Senegal. As recent as 15th of March this year, armed senegalese forest rangers entered Gambian soils, precisely Sareh Omar village in Jarra of Mansa Konko administrative area to shoot at a helpless civilian and they had to fire more shots to disperse a crowd that quickly gathered at the shooting scene reminding them that they were trespassing as they were on Gambian soil. This incident was preceded by a similar one when personnel of Senegalese military with their armoured vehicles intruded the same village and tried to forcefully take away logs from the same village but would later claim that they missed their way. I have never been and shall never be a Yahya Jammeh supporter, but one thing I am sure of is this: if he (Yahya jammeh) were still the president of our country, no Senegalese security personnel would be mad enough to do what they doing, now.
Back in native Kombo South: from Tanji to Kartong through Sanyang and Gunjur, the story is the same: not long ago, a hard-working lady in Tanji village whose name I could not recall was murdered in cold blood when she asked for her hard-earned money from a Gunean shopkeeper whom she entrusted with her money. Gibril Ceesay of Sanyang village was also murdered by another Senegalese national, a suspected robber, as a result of which youths of the village went berserk burning the police post, Chinese fishmeal plant and canoes belonging to Senegalese nationals. While nothing is being heard of the suspected murderer, youths who demonstrated their anger are now being arrested daily. Few days after the Sanyang incident, similar incident occured at Kachumeh, a small settlement between Sanyang and Gunjur, where another supposed Guinean shopkeeper stabbed a boy who simply asked him for his money. Where is justice? Should we fold our hands across our chests and watch while our people die like dogs? Are we safe in our own backyard? Where are our security personnel; are they doing enough to protect us?
Another mess confronting my native Kombo South people is the issue of Chinese fish meal plant which is doing more harm than good: discharging waste products into the ocean; damaging our environment; exporting the greater amount of their catches back to mainland China to feed animals (pigs) while our people barely have enough fish to feed their families. Our hands are tied as authorities turn blind eyes and deaf ears to our plights while the Chinese continue their exploitative enterprises.
Our country needs trans-formative, pragmatic, forward looking, decolonized and a strong political leadership to get us out of the ditch we find ourselves in; not an administration that takes dictates from the next door neighbour; not an administration that entirely depends on foreign countries for the security of its borders and citizens. A country with such poor leadership traits does not qualify to call itself sovereign independent state.
This is my opinion. Wasalam!
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