President Adama Barrow was swift to return to Banjul following his presence in Dakar as the only Head of State attending the 5th Peace and Security Forum in Dakar.
African leaders were expected to renew their call for continental unity in assuring security and sustainable growth for the African countries after years of Western interventions, at the annual Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security.
The 5th edition of the forum on the outskirts of Senegalese capital on November 5-6 was attended by the foreign and defense ministers of France, Poland, African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries, as well as international experts on security and new technologies. This year’s theme for the forum was “Peace and Security in Africa: Stakes of Sustainable Stability and Development”.
Why was President Barrow the only President at the Forum and how was he invited? According to Press reports President Macky Sall was obliged to explain himself to President Adama Barrow for the embarrassment caused noting that he sincerely wanted the 5th edition of the Forum to be held without the presence of Heads of State this time around.
He further explained that although the demand on the protocol services of the country would be heavy, he wanted the participants to be totally comfortable to exchange ideas among themselves. This meant that deliberations during the forum will be between diverse groups of participants that includes military, security, diplomats, NGOs and civic society groups.
Whatever explanation was given it is just embarrassing for dear Mr. President Barrow to be in such an awkward position. Was the President invited with the notion that other African Presidents will attend? Not the case as we see. Was it because Senegal wants to show the Gambia that they have a security edge over us after spearheading the ECOMIG presence in the Gambia? Gambians are concerned as to the reason behind all this.
Whatever the reason, for only one out of a 53 Heads of State to attend, only President Macky Sall Knows. President Adama Barrow was quick to exit but not without delivering a statement that spilled out of the context of the theme.
Our internal adjustments as to the setting up of the TRRC, CRC and youth development strategies were not aligned to the theme of the forum.