After ignoring the Gambian dictator’s tirade directed at Senegal, the Senegalese president has finally broken his silence on his relations with Yaya Jammeh. Last week, the Gambian dictator accused the Senegalese leader of not only harboring dissident Gambians but actively encouraging them to subvert his regime.The Gambia dissidents who are political refugees seeking asylum in Europe and America have been a source of conflict between the two countries. Jammeh has been trying for several years and on numerous occasions to have some of the dissidents extradited to Banjul, and on each occasion Senegal has refused because it contravenes international law.
Sall’s response is uncharacteristic of the calm and almost serine demeanor of the Senegalese leader by suggesting to Jammeh that he (Sall) is not only a democrat but has, as his major preoccupation, the development of Senegal, implying that Jammeh is neither a democrat nor is he someone who himself with the development of his own country.
The Senegalese president also reaffirms, in the strongest of terms, his position on the Gambian dissidents resident in Senegal. Gambians, like other refugees resident in Senegal, enjoy the same privileges and responsibilities as Senegalese. Senegal, according to President Sall, is a welcoming country, and thus dissidents of all nationalities, especially Gambians, are welcome.
Reacting to Jammeh’s tirades of last Saturday in the presence of some Senegalese entertainers, president Macky Sall also appears to be sending a subtle message to Eume Sene (the Senegalese wrestler) and Koutchia (a Senegalese comedian) to stay clear of Yaya Jammeh and in what is fast becoming a diplomatic minefield.