|Jean Paul Dias Mendes|
The former African Integration Minister in the PDS-led government of former President Abdoulaye Wade made the statement in response to questions about the escalating tensions between the regime of Yaya Jammeh and President Macky Sall prompted by the recent increase in road tax on Senegalese trucks using the TransGambia.
Yaya Jammeh has used this undesirable tactic many times before as a reminder to Senegal that he has some leverage that he can use to drive home a point - be it political, diplomatic or economic, the frequency of which it is used is becoming more as an irritant and an inconvenience to Gambia's neighbor. It appears that Senegal's patience with Jammeh is beginning to run out based on the general reaction of the Senegalese people in general and current and previous government officials in particular.
Jean Paul Dias views Jammeh as someone who persistently taunts Senegal and shows contempt for Senegalese leadership which, according to the former minister, must come to a halt. He is calling for a change in policy that calls for the building of a first class highway around the Gambia - a proposal that has been tried and found to be far less economically viable than the short cut through The Gambia. This proposal is being revisited more out of frustration than driven by economics - a frustration shared by many Senegalese and Gambians alike who value good neighborliness and regional cooperation that promotes regional economic growth and development.
As we have said in our previous blog post, this is the wrong time for Yaya Jammeh to pick a fight with Senegal, even if he's doing it to divert the attention of the Gambian people from his failed economic policies and deplorable human rights record.