Wednesday, July 4, 2007

On the Gambian dissidents in Senegal!

By Muhammed Jawara, New York

Over the past few weeks the issue of Gambian dissidents in Senegal has resurfaced, presumably for all the wrong reasons. We have been reading about alledged meetings between the Senegalese authorities and the Gambian dissidents for reasons most of us are not privy to. However, if the grapevine is anything to go by; the meetings are geared towards an effort by both parties to invade the Gambia and replace the APRC regime with an alternative one. As expected, this issue has been given coverage in both the domestic and international media. A recent Daily Observer editorial castigated Senegal for their meddling in our domestic issues and accused the Wade regime of playing judas. The National Assembly of the Gambia has come out strongly against the purported role that is being played by the Senegalese. There is no official response from both governents as this unfolding issue boils on daily basis.
To start with, since we are neither dealing with scientic findings nor hard facts beyond dispute, i will argue on a premises based purely on speculations.
Our disagreements with the APRC government on the direction The Gambia ought to take is irrelevant when it comes to our common interest as sovereign people. Senegal is a neighbor, albeit more powerful in terms of economic and military might. However, it is in their interest as it is in ours to live in harmony, while solving our differences amicably. Yet, if the media hype is to be trusted on this issue, the Senegalese authorities are cooking political soup that would be poisnous for both countries now and in the long term. For that reason, we should not hesitate to put records straight.
The Gambian dissidents in Senegal, probably headed by Sana Sabally are cowards whose records have shown their dishonesty and disloyalty to the Gambian people. Sana Sabally, who found himself at the pinnacle of military power has demostrated his wickedness and incompetency as the vice chairmant of the then military regime. His short stint as the vice chairmant brought unfamiliar stories to Gambians; mass detentions of opponents, summary execution of alledged coupists, dehumanizing of the elderly in Gambissara, among many others. He ordered his boys to shot at a commuter just because he perceived that person of being in contempt of authority while his convoy was moving. He threatened Gambians on our national airspace, humiliated public officials without any regard to the rule of law; and his larger-than-life behavior made him a feared figure instead of the liberator he claimed to have been. He was pompous, weak, troubled, arrogant and a disingenious leader whose short tenure in power brought a forgetable past for Gambians. At the end, he was caught by the very nets he spread for Gambians---that net of hatred, treachery, lies, half-truths, mistrust and dishosety. His fall from power symbolises everything he stood for, and at the end he served his term behind bars for nine years.
The so-called major Kalipha Bajinka is a nonentity that does not deserve a space. Kalipha Bajinka is a typical Yahya Jammeh stooge raised to terrorise Gambians for many years. His closer proximity to Yahya Jammeh for many years made him a party to many dirty works done under the name of security. Mr. Bajinka alledgedly ran a network of killers who had gone out of their way as security officials to bring suffering to Gambians. Although exonerated in a dubious way, he was the very soldier accused of supporting the perennial terrorisers of the Independent Newspaper. And he stood idle and unconcerned, at least overtly, when the Gambian military officers were killing students, humiliating journalists as well as making The Gambia a military controlled state. Although, i am not holding him personally resposbile for the killings of the students, it was under his watchful eyes as part of the leadership of the military headquarters in Banjul that Journalist were being targeted by the notorious Green Boys whose ring it is alledged has a lot to do with Bajinka than not. His hands are dirty with money, greed, deceipt, blood, lies and everything that is bad.
Ndur Cham is another silly soldier who was always mute as long he was enjoying the the riches of the APRC government. Where was Ndur Cham when 12 innocent students were killed by the Gambia's high-handed security officers? Where was he when numerous perceived Yahya Jammeh opponents were murdered by the Green Boys? Where was Mr. Cham when Deyda Hydara was targeted and killed by drunked murderers? What did he do as a leader in the Gambian military to curbed down military crimes against innocent Gambians? What will he do differently if he comes to the Gambia through the barrel of gun?
The rest of these so-called dissidents characterised the failure of the Gambian military for the past thirteen years. This is what makes it all the more important for Gambians to raise our voices against any forceful invation of our country by these fools whose failure to be granted entry to the western world leave them with this heineous option of invading the Gambia. If they succeed in their pursuance of this goal, the rest of us would witness societal destruction that would not be repaired in our time. Name it the way you want but the lessons of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Cassamance, Angola, Brundi, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Congo Brazaville, just to name but few, have left bitter tastes in our mouths. Any attempt or plan to use force as the means of getting rid of Yahya Jammeh would not be done in heaven; thus we stand to lose as our fellow Africans have lost in these countries.
As i mentioned earlier, one's disagreement with the APRC regime cannot be used as a pretext to cook a war that will end up consuming the poor and disenfrancising Gambians for unspecified years.
Over the years, Senegal and Gambia has had disagreemnts over many issues, not the least the former's proposal of building a bridge along the Farafeni river crossing. The Yahya Jammeh government, as its precedecessor has repeatedly refused to meet Senegal's demand of undertaking such a project. Also, both governments as well their citizenry have clashed over movements of goods and services along the border that had resulted in stagnation of business between the two neighbors.
In the first situation it appears Senegal wanted to impose its will upon the Gambia by putting conditions for a bilateral trade. The government of the Gambia refused to be intimidated,which eventually made the Senegalese authorities go berserk. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has not been the same. The second situation is a result of the first, prompting Senegalese trade unions to protest against the stand of the government of the Gambia on border crossings. All said and done, Yahya Jammeh, as any other leader has done what the Gambian people wanted him to do: negotiate foreign relations in our interests. That, it seems has been a thorn in the flesh for the Wade governent in Senegal.
Any of these reasons, and presumably other factors unknown to us can be mitigating factors for Senegal to connive with enemies of the Gambia such as the so-called dissidents. The intention of Wade's government in playing any role is clear. They want to bring enemies of their enemy(Yahya Jammeh) to power so that they can shape Gambia's policy on border issues in the forseable future. To be a party to such a scheme shows how unpatriotic our self-exiled dissidents are, and exposes the depth of their consciences.
All civilise Gambians, despite our political dispensations must condemn any forceful attempt to take power whether from within the army or from external fugitives. Its Yahya Jammeh's responsibility to ensure that the Gambia moves in the right direction. It is the responsibility of every other Gambian to partake in that process, giving credit when its due and criticising the regime where it goes wrong. There should be change but we must ensure that any change must be done in a legitimate way otherwise all the criticisms labeled against the Jammeh regime would be a farce. Sabally and the co., take note!
It is the responsibility of the Senegalese regime to protect their country if they deem it fit.

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