Mr. President, it is very sad that at this time when the whole world is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, West Africa is faced with security challenges which will make life worse for its people.
Following the military coup in Mali on 18 August 2020, we fear that it might lead to more security threats in the subregion knowing that there are very troublesome jihadists in Mali.
The jihadists who are armed and well trained can take this opportunity to destabilise the country and even the subregion.
Mr. President, military takeover is not allowed in the world. Former President Ibrahima Boubacarr Keita, 75 years, had been warned by his compatriots for a long time following weekly protests every Friday, asking him to resign from his post.
They believed that he could no longer rule the country because of the lack of security with the jihadists in the northern part of the country killing many innocent people especially the Fulas. Rampant corruption and bad governance were also amongst other reasons that made them force him to resign with his prime minister, Boubou Cisse and his son Karim, a millionaire leashing money every day to enjoy himself. All three are currently arrested and detained in the military camp of Kati, 15kms from the capital Bamako. Total detainees according to official sources are 20.
Now that the Mali borders have been closed by ECOWAS, trading in the country and also neighbouring countries could be affected.
Mr. President, it seems this year the West African region is going to be faced with real security threats, which ECOWAS and AU should brace up to tackle before it’s too late.
Guinea Conakry will be going to the polls on 18 October 2020, with incumbent Alpha Conde, at 82 years, abusing their constitution to stand for a third term. This could bring revolt in that country. Alassane Ouattara, 78 years, president of Cote d’Ivoire will also be seeking re-election on 31 October to seek a third term. He too is abusing the Constitution to stand for third term. He barred his opponents Ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro former speaker of the National Assembly. When he announced his candidature six people died on 6 August. Yesterday, two people also died. In July, for the first time, the jihadists killed six people.
Burkina Fasso will also go for elections on 22 November and jihadists have also killed several people already.
Mr. President, it is crystal clear that the election results in Guinea Conakry and Cote d’ivoire could destabilise the subregion combined with the wide spread of COVID-19 if proper and timely measures are not taken.
African leaders are the cause of all these problems as they do not respect their constitutions which stipulate two terms in many countries. They never respect their constitutions and now the populace is ready to go to the streets to vent their anger, which could lead to clashes with security forces.
Both AU and ECOWAS should be firm with leaders to respect the term limits. If not, there will be continuous insecurity in the continent. All necessary measures should be taken to disallow problems in the subregion.
Mr. President, in Beirut 4 August,2020, chemical explosions claimed 137 lives and properties destroyed.
Senegal is seeking to move a huge stock of 2,700 ammonium nitrate from the Dakar Port from which consignment 3,050 tonnes are destined for neighbouring country, Mali. Now with the closure of Mali borders, owners of the chemicals are trying to get another country to store it.
Both our security personnel and management of the Gambia Ports Authority should be very vigilant not to allow the consignment to be disembarked in the Gambian ports for safety reasons.
Finally Mr. President, it’s good that Senegalese doctors specialised in tropical diseases and COVID 19 are in town to meet their Gambian counterparts to collaborate and see how best to eliminate the troubling pandemic that has claimed several lives in many countries especially Gambia and Senegal.
A common strategy plan can help a great deal to succeed in the crusade against this deadly coronavirus. The Gambia and Senegal are condemned to live together. We are one people related in blood but divided by colonial masters.