“He acted without consultation and raised the charges for the border crossing to 400,000CFA ($800)”. “He signed ECOWAS protocols and yet doesn’t adhere to them”. “He doesn’t know the difference between running a country and running a household.”
These were just some of the charges leveled by Gora Khouma, the head of the Senegalese Transport Union, against the Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh. These charges came on the heels of an escalating border crisis between the Gambia and her neighbor, Senegal. It must be noted that this is not the first time the border between these two neighbors becomes the source of friction – it is an ongoing feud that also breaks out whenever Jammeh wants to instigate a crisis to distract the Gambian population from his bad governance.
As a sign of Senegal’s intransigence this time around, the Transport Union has yanked the matter out of Senegalese President, Macky Sall’s hands, who is seen as a soft power peddler when it comes to Yahya Jammeh’s mischiefs towards this bigger neighbor. Macky, according to Gora has been asked to stay out of the current crisis for as he put it “Jammeh did not inform them (Macky and his government) when he made his decision (imposing crippling tariffs on Senegalese truckers in an attempt to manufacture yet another fake crisis for political gains).” And it seems, the move is proving effective in containing Jammeh’s belligerence – he has made an attempt to resolve the border dispute after realizing the unintended consequences of threatening his grip on power, but the Union has rebuffed such advances citing his past insincerities as cause for concern.
Mr Khouma in making his case to the Gambian people during an interview with Fatu Network didn’t hold any punches. In a move to show solidarity with their counterparts in The Gambia who have recently been the latest victims of Jammeh’s callous brutality, Gora raised the issue of Sheriff Dibba, the former Secretary General of the Gambia Transport Control Association who died in custody after what human rights groups and sister trade associations contend was caused by the ill treatment he got in the hands of the security forces. The family of Mr Dibba has still not officially been told the cause of his death and no formal investigation has since been launched, confirming the suspicions of many that foul play resulted to his untimely demise.
Gora also laid out their Transport Union’s game plan as far as tackling what he termed “Jammeh’s madness.” He said he has already given directives to drivers to by-pass The Gambia and use other routes when going to their country’s Southern region of Casamance. This he said is being done to make sure Senegal doesn’t feel the impact of the border closure as much as Gambia does.
The Union boss also had a word of advice for Gambians if they want to disentangle themselves out of the current “concrete jungle” type situation Jammeh has visited on them since 1994 – he called on Gambians especially the security forces to stand up against Jammeh and boot him out of power. “Jammeh is not who people think he is, nobody has ever shot him but for sure if and when it happens, it will kill him” he assured a traumatized and terrorized nation. To demystify Jammeh further, he ridiculed the Gambian iron fist dictator for his disease herbal treatment programs (Yahya even claims he can cure AIDS, Diabetes, Infertility, High blood Pressure, certain types of cancer, among others), reminding the population that the whole country is sick and the man is yet to cure anyone them.
“Gambia does not belong to Jammeh just as Senegal doesn’t belong to Mack” Gora Khouma emphatically concluded. Fatu Network will continue to monitor this gathering storm and report back any developments to our readers as always. Stay tuned.