Sunday, March 27, 2016

OJ blames Jammeh's belligerent foreign policy for the border closure

Banjul-Barra ferry terminal
Speaking at a political rally in Sukuta on Saturday, the Interim Leader of the PPP and former Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources in the government of Sir Dawda Jawara, Omar Jallow (OJ) puts the blame for the border closure squarely at the doorsteps of the Gambian despot, Yaya Jammeh.

According to OJ, the unilateral decision by the Gambian dictator to increase the tariff for Senegalese commercial vehicles without consulting with neighboring Senegal, as stipulated in previous bi-lateral Agreements, is the cause for the retaliatory action of the Senegalese Transport Union.  The Jammeh regime is finding it extremely difficult to justify a 1,000% in the tariff, without consultation and with only a few hours of notification period before the new tariff went into effect.

The effects of the border closure are being felt beyond the petty traders who manage stalls, fruits stands and shops in both sides of the border and into the Gambian state treasury which is registering lower than usual revenue collection.  The state electricity company, NAWEC, is faced with a dwindling stock of heavy fuel for its generators resulting in heavy load shedding across the country.

The PPP politician contrasted Jawara's friendly foreign policy generally and towards Western Europe and America in particular to Jammeh's belligerent behavior towards Senegal and the West which has resulted in the isolation of the country.  He attributes Jammeh's bellicosity to his lack of respect for others and his limited knowledge of the history of The Gambia.

The current border crisis could have been avoided, according to OJ, if Jammeh had followed protocol by simple consultations with Senegal prior to notification of the new tariff proposal going into effect.  The PPP Interim Leader faulted Jammeh for ignoring the Senegalo-Gambian Secretariat whose good offices he could have used to consult with his next door neighbor.   Good neighborliness is not a strong attribute of the regime of Yaya Jammeh which has resulted in the current predicament of a regime that has acquired a pariah status.