Will Macky’s Visit Make any Difference in Gambia/Senegal Relations?
Monday, April 23, 2012
The visit of the newly elected president of Senegal to The Gambia is not the first of its kind.Previous Senegalese presidents visit The Gambia too.
However, it may be the first foreign visit of a newly elected Senegalese president, which makes Macky’s visit unique. But will such a visit make any difference from the previous visits is the question.
The Senegalese president MackySall fulfilled his election promises by first coming to The Gambia after being sworn in as president. In the words of his host President Jammeh, Macky broke history by being the first Senegalese president to choose The Gambia as his first overseas visit. Will such an historic visit make any difference in the relationship of the two very close countries, countries that are bound by blood relationship before colonialism is anyone’s guess?
President Jammeh told his visiting Senegalese counterpart at the Cocoa Ocean Hotel; where President Sall was welcomed, that he will fully support him in his endeavor to bring peace in Casamance region of Senegal. Jammeh went on to say that he pulled out of the Casamance peace talks some years ago because President Abdoulaye Wade asks him to do so.
Jammeh told his audience at that meeting that the Cassamance crises and problem of war could have been over long since if it were not President Wade’s attitudes towards the crises.
Unfortunately for the people of Casamance peace could not be attained because AbdouDiouf did not win the 2000 elections, thus blaming Wade for the failure of the peace talks in Cassamance. President Jammeh made reference to several telephone conversations between him, Obassanjo, and Kofi Annan who was the then Secretary General of the UN.
Listeners and viewers could hear the story of president Jammeh, but the side of President Wade and others cannot be heard. We hope the above very important personalities will one day have the opportunity to respond to President Jammeh’s assertions.
However, in President Sall’s response he never hinted on what Jammeh said concerning why The Gambia pulled out of the peace talks. Readers should be informed that Sall was the head of the Senegalese government at the time as Prime minister under Wade. Decisions in government, unless under a dictator are collective.
All that’s history now. The Wade government is gone, and a new Presidency is in place .What really is the case, is that President Jammeh was the president when AbdouJoof, Abdoulaye Wade were president of Senegal and now he still leads The Gambia as MackySall’s just steps in as Senegal’s president.
All Senegalese presidents from the LeporldSedarSenghore who was the first president, to AbdouDiouf, Abdoulaye Wade, and MackySall all of them at one time visited The Gambia. Those visits range from a day working visits and state visits.
For some, it was several times and for the new entrant only once yet. Many agreements were signed and so many important decisions were taken and developments including the Senegambia confederation, the Senegalo-Gambia secretariat, and the signing of bridging the Trans-Gambia crossing points.
All these are big achievements before and during President Jammeh’s time.
After listening to President Jammeh, one may wonder if there was any useful outcome of the several visits he made to Senegal to his father and elder brother President Wade. On the other hand, the several visits President Wade made here.And above all the special envoys that were entering State House from President Wade, likewise the several times we saw Minister Tangara when he was Foreign Minister walking in and out of the presidential place of Wade in Senegal. Or were those visits just cosmetic visits, then what a waste of state resources.
One thing that bugle our minds is that President Jammeh is giving the impression that he alone could solve the Casamance problem. He said to President Sall that if he was given the opportunity he would have solved the Cassamance problem within a short period. That is not the way we think the Casamance problem could be solved.
We believe there are more solutions to the region than The Gambia alone. Guinea Bissau is one very important country that has a stake in the problem too.