Mboka CSOs Forum II ‘Gambian CSOs must Unite, Cross Border Challenges breeds Disunity’

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By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

Context

Gambia Press Union representative, Mr. Faal took the opportunity to urge Gambian Civil Society Organisations present at the Mboka CSO II Forum to unite and avoid partisan politics. His counterpart from the Gambian Transport Union raised her concerns on cross border challenges to implementing ECOWAS Protocols on Free Movement of people and goods.

On 21st December 2018 Senegalese and Gambian youths converged at Baobab Hotel to convene the second edition of the SeneGambia Civil Society Organisations forum dubbed ‘Mboka’. The first Mboka forum took place earlier in May 2018 in Dakar and saw up to 17 Gambian delegates travel to their counterparts in Senegal. The movement aims is to bring SeneGambian people together by strengthening cultural ties and exchanging ideas, experiences, best practice and organising events.

The forum hosted up to 50 delegates including representatives from the Gambia Transport Union, Gambia Police Force, National Youth Council, Occupy Westfield, Gambia Press Union, Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and more.

Delegates at the Mboka ConferenceGambia Press Union (GPU) – “Gambian CSOs Must Unite”

A member of the Gambia Press Union, Pa Modou Faal highlighted that for Gambian CSOs to achieve the success of their Senegalese counterparts they need to unite and focus on the issues they want to progress. Citizens need to be clear of their objectives, which does not only have to be on Politics. Other important issues include the environment, health and sports, and other development issues. CSOs should avoid Politicking, joining Political parties or sympathising with Political Parties as this leads to disunity.

Watch more of Mr. Faal’s speech here >>

Gambia Transport Union (GTU) – “10 Days Unlimited Travel doesn’t call for Solidarity”

One of the representatives of the GTU spoke of the issues of laissez passez and the numerous unnecessary checkpoints and unnecessary border closures. Nonetheless, the GTU is working closely with their Senegalese counterparts to see how best to resolve these issues. She highlights that “we have this very important challenge that we feel this is a very important forum to bring it up where we have 10 days unlimited entry for Gambian vehicles flying through Senegal. While those coming from Senegal to the Gambia are never restricted and they don’t have any date where they are asked to return.”

She added that “so if a vehicle from The Gambia is to go to Senegal, you stay there for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days, you are supposed to pay which we believe doesn’t call for solidarity.” Corruption was also mentioned as an issue which needs to be addressed.

Watch more of the speech here >>

ECOWAS Protocols (A/P.1/5/79)

Below are the relevant ECOWAS Protocols relating to free movement of persons and goods is reproduced below. >> http://documentation.ecowas.int/download/en/legal_documents/protocols/PROTOCOL%20RELATING%20TO%20%20FREE%20MOVEMENT%20OF%20PERSONS.pdf

Article 3

A citizen of the Community visiting any Member State for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days shall enter the territory of that Member State through the official entry point free of visa requirements. Such citizen shall, however, be required to obtain permission for an extension of stay from the appropriate authority if after such entry that citizen has cause to stay for more than ninety (90) days.

Article 5

  1. Private Vehicles

A private vehicle registered in the territory of a Member State my enter the territory of another Member State and remain there for a period of ninety (90) days upon presentation of the documents listed hereunder to the competent authority of that Member State:-

  • Valid driving licence
  • Matriculation Certificate (Ownership Card) or Log Book
  • Insurance Policy recognised by Member States
  • International Customs carnet recognised within the Community.
  1. Commercial Vehicles

A commercial vehicle registered in the territory of a Member State and carrying passengers may enter the territory of another Member State and remain there for a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days upon presentation of the documents listed, hereunder to the competent authority of that Member State:

  • Valid driving licence
  • Matriculation Certificate (Ownership Card) or Log Book
  • Insurance Policy recognised by Member States
  • International customs carnet recognised within the Community.

During the period of fifteen (15) days the commercial motor vehicle shall however not engage in any commercial activities within the territory of the Member State entered.

For more videos here is a Mboka Playlist on YouTube >>

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