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Mend the cleavage: the people are feeling the pinch

Mar 23, 2016, 9:59 AM

Issue Tuesday 22 March 2016

We are making a further plea to our leaders in The Gambia and Senegal to earnestly put heads together to resolve the border closure impasse between the two sister countries, which has been on since 11 February this year.

The presidents of both countries should, if possibly meet in a neutral ground (a neighbouring country) to discuss frankly and thrash out the differences in the scorching matter.

ECOWAS should also intervene in the stalemate to ensure normalcy is restored between both nations,as the situation israpidly becoming unbearable, dayby day, seeing the masses of both peoples seriously feeling the pinch.

We should not nurse such a cleavage of bad spirit, as the situation is affecting people of both countries and beyond. It is also painting a negative picture on the face of Pan-Africanism both powers are promoting.

President Macky Sall is the current chairman of ECOWAS and ours the chairman of the Organisation of the Gambia River Basin (OMVG). Much, in respect of pan-Africanism, unity and progress, is therefore expected from both powers that be.

The disagreement emanating from the seemingly border transit charges must be resolved as we are sister nations and are one people tied by blood relations, religion, culture, and common membership of regional and international organisations such as OMVG, ECOWAS, AU, and the UN.

Commercial vehicles are still not allowed to go across the borders and people are frustrated in their trade transactions.

What is really making things so difficult for both parties to mend their differences on the border closure issue that cannot be sorted out?

Cross border trade is affected, businesses run by Senegalese, Gambians and other nationals across the borders of the two nations are seriously hampered, our economies are starved of much-needed revenue and the people’s livelihood is hindered.

So many commercial trucks transiting through neighbouring countries, including The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Mauritania and others are stuck.

And while business transactions are hindered, the economies of these countries are deprived of revenues from such activities as the Inter-State Road Transit trade (ISRT) in the region.

Our authorities should bear in mind that our countries are part of ECOWAS, which guarantees free movement of persons and goods in the region.

And there are several other protocols including the Inter-State Road Transit (ISRT) that are set out to facilitate and grow trade among member countries and their economies. These should be respected and made to work well for both countries.

We should, therefore, be strong enough to shun acts of discord and work towards the development of both countries.

The masses of the people of both countries need a peaceful solution to this lingering issue of frequent border closure between our nations

“Let’s always maintain the spirit of brotherhood and Pan-Africanism, cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

The Point