Saturday, April 30, 2016

Jammeh promises to finance the political campaign of Abdoulaye Baldé if.....

Abdoulaye Balde, Mayor of Zinguinchor,  Senegal
The Gambia - Senegal border closure which is now two and a half months old is being felt so hard in Banjul that it has driven Yaya Jammeh to promise Abdoulaye Baldé, Mayor of Ziquinchor and member of parliament, the largest city in southern Casamance, to finance his future political campaign if he can flex his political muscle in the Casamance region in an attempt to turn public opinion against the government of Macky Sall,

Jammeh believes Macky Sall's intention is to prolong the border closure for as long as possible to weaken and eventually help bring down his government.  The Jammeh regime is not only seen as a destabilizing force within Senegal but it is increasingly seen as posing a security threat to the region.  Jammeh's erratic and idiosyncratic behavior has earned him the reputation of being an unreliable and unpredictable partner resulting in the diplomatic isolation of The Gambia.  The Gambian dictator has become a butt of jokes in the process.  

Cultivating political alliance with the young and politically ambitious Abdoulaye Baldé may be seen as an act of desperation but Jammeh sees in the Mayor of Zinquinchor a useful regional ally with a common enemy in Macky Sall.  Jammeh already has Salif Sadio, a factional leader of the MFDC.  If he succeeds in forging a political alliance with Abdoulye Balde in addition to his military partnership with Salif Sadio, it will have the potential of posing a new threat in a region that Senegal and the United States had thought he had finally has the 35-year old low-intensity rebel war under control.

Abdoulaye Baldé and his delegation was invited to the Gambian capital of Banjul but were turned back at the border post of Siliti by Senegalese border patrol.  Somehow some of the delegation were able to take the back road around Kanilai (Jammeh's home village) to honor his invitation.  Mr.Baldé stayed home because he would not only be undignified but conspicuous should he followed suit.  He also took the back road.

A strategy meeting is presently (Saturday evening, 30 April) taking place at the Flourish Hotel near the Palmarima Hotel in Kololi to discuss the need for a coordinated response which the participants - mainly Deputy or Assistant Mayors, chef des villages and local authorities who belong to Abdoulaye Baldé's l'Union Centriste du Senegal (U.C.S).

Yaya Jammeh is instigating politicians from  Abdoulaye Baldé's l'Union Centriste du Senegal to return to their localities in the Casamance to agitate, protest with a possibility of strike action against the border closure which they will blame on Macky Sall who is a natural political opponent of the former Minister in the Wade's administration.  Mr. Baldé was a close friend and political ally of Karim Wade, the powerful and influential son of the former President of Senegal currently serving time in prison.

Among those in attendance on the Gambian side at the Flourish Hotel in Kololi were Jammeh's Interior Minister, Ousman Sonko and Kanifing Municipal Council Mayor Yankuba Colley.  The Casamance delegation from the Sadiou and Kolda regions of southern Senegal.