Alhagie Mustapha Faye, Aka Alikalagi, a Banjulian born native has said that he mistakenly entered into The Gambia, without knowing that he has travelled beyond the jurisdiction of The Gambia. He was alerted by his smartphone that he was on Gambian soil during a trip to Karang, a Senegalese border village close to the Amadali border post. Faye retreated back to Karang without any incident or problem with Gambia’s border agents. He was instead accorded a warm reception by the guards on duty. Faye even took pictures with the security agents on duty, before returning to the other side of the border on the Senegalese side. He tells Freedom Radio Gambia during an interview on Monday that the Gambian guards at Amadali were so polite. The guards even asked him, if he was visiting his old town Barra, but Faye replied in the negative. He told them that he mistakenly entered The Gambia without knowing about it.
Mr. Faye’s interview with this medium would air later today. Faye talks about shipping a car to The Gambia, and his desire to talk sense to dictator Jammeh to consider political reforms if avail with the opportunity to meet with Jammeh one day. According to Mr. Faye, he experienced some hitches when he earlier shipped his car to Banjul. He said some corrupt port workers allegedly wanted to steal the car from him on the basis that he (Faye) has been exiled and he couldn’t come to The Gambia. That he Faye is an exile.
“I personally phoned them ( I mean the port workers) to tell them that if they steal my car, I will personally phone Yahya Jammeh to complain. It took me some time before I could clear the car from the ports. They wanted to take the car from me. I stood my ground that I will not take any BS from them. I made it abundantly clear to them that I wouldn’t mind contacting Yahya Jammeh, if my vehicle is stolen. One of the reasons why I left the country had to do with injustices meted out to me. My own car was taken away from me by the former Nigerian magistrate Ornaya,” Mr. Faye said in the local Wollof dialect.
“I refused to bribe anyone to clear my car. I addressed a check (Cheque) to Customs as an institution to pay for the ports handling fees and taxes. I am a former Accountant. I know that they cannot mess with the check since it was in the name of the institution Customs,” Faye added.
Mr. Faye said once he cleared his vehicle through his contacts in Banjul, he was able to secure a Banjul Registration Number for his car, including an automobile insurance. That’s the car Faye uses in Dakar, Senegal to drive around.
“I had two cars in Senegal. One was shipped to Dakar, and the other one to The Gambia. The one I cleared from the Banjul ports had a Banjul Registration Number. The other one in Dakar is yet to be assigned to any registration number. I have parked it at my rented property in Senegal,” Faye said.
Despite owning a car with a Gambian registration plate, Mr. Faye still wants Jammeh to be clearer about the amnesty he recently extended to diasporan Gambians. Faye said as far he is concerned Jammeh hasn’t extended an amnesty to him. He was quick to point out that he hasn’t committed any crime to warrant Jammeh to grant him an amnesty.
“I was told that Yahya Jammeh said he has no problems with me. That his government is not after me. I have received positive feedbacks from the people I spoke with coming from The Gambia to Senegal. They said Jammeh spoke highly of me. I am not concern about my individual self. I want all exiles to be able to return home and go about their normal business. In my opinion, Yahya Jammeh should embark on reforms and allow Gambians to be free. I have been on exile for over twenty years. If it is true that Yahya Jammeh indeed said he doesn’t have problems with me, he should make it public. I cannot just rely on a word of mouth,” Faye added.
Mr. Faye also talked about the Executive Directive Jammeh issued to pardon Ebou Jallow. He remembered Ebou Jallow, the former junta spokesman, contacting him, about his reconciliation agenda. Faye said he jokingly told Ebou that if indeed he (Ebou) was serious about the reconciliation issue, both of them should travel together to Banjul to meet with Yahya Jammeh.
“I told him that I alone will not travel to Banjul. That if Yahya Jammeh is going to arrest us, let both us face it. Ebou is my brother,” Faye said.
Mr. Faye said he is not convinced that elections will change the status quo in The Gambia. He cites lack of opposition unity and the necessary budget to unseat dictator Jammeh.
“The opposition is not united. We have barely less than one year before the elections and yet the opposition haven’t come together. In addition to that, the opposition lacks money. Yahya Jammeh has more resources than them. The struggle should consider changing tactics in our quest to oppose Jammeh. It is my firm belief and conviction that engaging Yahya Jammeh into dialogue will help to some degree. We cannot afford using the same tactics and expect positive results. It is about time we sit down with Yahya Jammeh and engage him into a meaningful dialogue,” Faye tells Freedom Radio.
“Let no one misconstrue my statement. People have the right to associate themselves with any person or party of their choice. Gambians should exercise maturity in their quest to effect political change in the country. We should be able to sit and talk with Yahya Jammeh. That’s my position,” Faye added.
Mr. Faye also said some folks in Dakar told him that he is wasting his time in this struggle. He said he was asked to mind his business and chill because Gambians will never come together to effect political change in The Gambia. Faye said if his Dakar radio project fails to materialize he will just call it quits and retire gracefully. For more on the story, catch us on Freedom Radio Gambia later this afternoon. Stay tuned..
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai