The Secretary General of Senegal’s Transport Union has said that The Gambia/Senegal border is not going to be reopened unless the proposed bridge is constructed. Mr. Houma, who was speaking on SEN TV, on Monday, accused dictator Yahya Jammeh of playing Ping-Pong game with Senegal.
“The Gambia under Yahya Jammeh’s rule must commit itself to the proposed bridge or otherwise, we will continue with the boycott of avoiding the Trans-Gambia route. Our primary demand is for a bridge to be constructed. We are not backing out from our demand. The Macky government can reach whatever agreement with the Jammeh dictatorship, but if the proposed bridge is not constructed, we are not going to use the Trans-Gambia road,” Goro Houma said.
Mr. Houma, who appeared uncompromising warns that the only solution to the border impasse is for The Gambia to honor its side of the bargain by allowing the proposed bridge to be constructed. The African Development Bank (ADB) has committed millions of dollars into the proposed bridge.
“The government of Senegal must safeguard the interest of its citizens. Yahya Jammeh wants to treat us as his domestic slaves. He closes the border each time he wishes. He also increased ferry tariffs without giving due regards to the plight of Senegalese. We are tied of Yahya Jammeh’s games. No bridge, there wouldn’t be no border opening,” he said.
Mr. Houma talks about the lack of good ferries in The Gambia. He said Senegalese truckers spent hours at the Bamba-Tenda and Elli-Tenda ferry crossing.
“Using The Gambian ferries is a waste of time. The ferries are hardly functional. The ferries are half of the time grounded due to technical problems. In addition to that, there are safety issues related to these old ferries. We are better off by not using The Gambian ferries,” Houma told SEN TV, in the local Wollof dialect.
“Many a time, we had to buy ice to freeze some of the corpses being transported via The Gambia. When we reached at Bamba-Tenda, they will tell us that the ferries are out of services. Corrupt Gambian border agents would also compel us to pay them in CFA. They wouldn’t accept their own legal tender, which is the dalasi,” he added.
Mr. Houma said if Senegal can work out a deal with Guinea Bissau to construct a bridge in Bissau, why not The Gambia. He said the Macky government should not allow Jammeh to control the narrative. He accused Jammeh of trying to lure Senegal, to reopen the border in the month of Ramadan. He questioned the sincerity of Yahya Jammeh in the ongoing border talks.
Mr. Houma also also talked about the economic crunch in The Gambia. He said Jammeh is worried about the reaction of Gambians if the border remains closed. Hence, that’s why he wants the border to be reopened before the Ramadan, he said.
A lady, who was part of the SEN TV panel, lamented about the harassment Senegalese travelers suffered in the hands of Gambian rogue security agents. She explained that Gambian border agents are the least professional.
“I have went through hell, while traveling via The Gambia from Senegal. I was rendered stranded there for days. Some of the travelers would end up running out of cash because of the dysfunctional ferries. The Gambian border agents are rude. They often harass us,” she said.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai