Gambia: Senegalese Elections

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Senegalese Elections

Congratulations to President Macky Sall for his election victory. Unlike Nigeria, where nearly 40 people lost their lives during the elections, Senegal’s was largely peaceful, with the exception of the 2 or 3 deaths during the campaign at Tambacounda. Even a single loss of life is—one–too many! However, I think Senegal can do a better job when it comes to the counting of the votes. A prolonged counting of the votes gives talking-points and fodder to the losers, about the fairness of the election.

Now that the elections and campaigns are over, Presidents Sall and Barrow should continue to strengthen the cordial relations between our two countries. The removal of trade barriers, such as customs duties at the borders, should be high on their agenda. Having a good relationship with Senegal is one of the best guarantors of Gambian Democracy.

It is human, to be complacent; therefore, it is worth reminding ourselves the role Senegal played in maintaining democracy in Gambia. It was the Senegalese Ambassador to Gambia who used the cover of diplomatic privilege and smuggled Alhagie Momar Njie–the Father of New Gambia–to safety in Senegal. If Mr. Njie had buckled under pressure from the Kaninlai Butcher/Dictator, and altered the results of the elections, he would still have been our president. It was Senegalese forces who saved us from Kukoi in 1981.

Let us also not forget that it was Senegal’s Ambassador to the United Nations who tabled a motion in the Security Council, condemning the Dictator’s hold on to power, after his public concession of defeat. The unanimous passage of that motion led to the Butcher/Dictator’s condemnation and provided legitimacy for the ECOMIG invasion. Where was Gambian’s Ambassador to the United Nations? Here–you have a Senegalese Ambassador fighting for Gambia–at the United Nations. Amazing!!!! Our Treasury does not pay the salary of the Senegalese Ambassador to the United Nations.

I mentioned this in a previous post: President Barrow and President Sall have genuine love for each other. It could be due to their common Fullah heritage (Barrow’s mother being Fullah). If that is the source of their closeness and friendship–so be it! One thing I can say for certain: their relationship is more cordial and genuine than the relationship between Sir Dawda and Abdou Joof. Most of us are old enough to remember the outcome of the fall-out between Presidents Jawara and Joof: Twenty two years of dictatorship, mayhem, misery, despondency, and tribalism. Is it worth it? Most Gambians will answer with a resounding “No”.

Last but not least, no two African countries are as similar as Gambia and Senegal. We share the same languages, religions, food, culture, traditions. The only difference between us: our Coloniser.  A vast majority of Gambians have relatives in Senegal, including me. Gambia will never know peace, with Senegal in turmoil. Regards,

Tumbul Trawally

Seattle, USA

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