By: Foday Manneh
The Ministry of Defence of the Gambia, on Saturday, April 1, 2023, made a press statement clarifying a story by the Standard Newspaper published on March 30, 2023, which reads “The Gambia Tells Senegal To Respect its Sovereignty.”
The Ministry said that one of the country’s leading newspapers had misinterpreted the above caption from a statement made by the Defence Minister during a question and answer session with parliamentarians.
However, reacting to the Ministry’s press release, former Minister and opposition United Democratic Party member Momodou Sabally gave little or no weight to the release.
“Why are they whining about a newspaper headline that is correct?” Sabally asked.
“Even in the unlikely event that the Defence minister was misquoted, what in the world is wrong with a sovereign nation calling on another one to do what is required by moral rule and international law? When has it become a crime to ask to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s due?” he asked.
The UDP national campaign manager maintained that the Senegalese government had been found wanting of several violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Gambia.
“The fact is that President Macky Sall and his government have repeatedly violated and desecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Gambia in myriad ways,” he said.
“From military incursions into The Gambia to arrest and detain Gambian citizens; to stationing their security personnel in The Gambia without a clear legal mandate; to the incidents of their military trying to force their way to cross the Senegambia bridge without paying the requisite tolls; the Macky Sall government has demonstrated that lack of respect for our sovereignty,” Sabally stressed.
“Why would a newspaper headline quoting a Gambian Minister calling on Senegal to respect our sovereignty become a problem that would warrant a rebuttal from our government?” Sabally stated.
Meanwhile, the prominent politician described the Ministry’s clarification as “sad and unfortunate,” saying it exposes the lack of spirit of the Barrow administration, adding that the level of subservience of the government is appalling.
“The fact that the Defence Ministry is not comfortable with such a headline tells volumes of stories on how we have lost not only our sovereignty but also our sense of pride as a nation,” Sabally said.