By Nelson Manneh
Serrekunda 19 January 2017 – Business in the Kanifing Municipality is at a total standstill today due to the political impasse in The Gambia.
Today marks the inauguration of President Elect Adama Barrow, and because Ecowas has warned that failure of President Jammeh to step down today has instilled fear in the minds of many and has motivated thousands to flee or to stay at home.
Pharmacies, banks, filling stations, foreign exchange bureaus, GSM operators and other big companies have all shut down their businesses till further notice. Notices posted indicate that they have closed till further notice.
One Muhammed Darboe, a businessman in Serrekunda market, said he closed his shop since yesterday morning but comes from time to time to check for break ins. He said he was advised by a policeman that there was no need for this as their properties are secure.
The businessman said that President Jammeh has made every Gambian suffer. He stressed that some of them totally rely on their businesses for survival without which they cannot provide daily meals for their families.
A Police Intervention Unit (PIU) Officer, (name withheld) posted at the Serrekunda market, told this reporter that if there is any exchange of guns shots she is going to drop her gun and go home. ‘’I don’t know why we should fight, Jammeh already knows that he has lost, he is just tormenting us. We know our rights as officers and our limitations,’’ Faal stressed. She asked who they are to fight against, “are we going to kill their brothers and sisters whom they should protect?” she asked.
Soldiers at check points appeared relaxed as if they are not on a stand by. Some were found smoking, some eating biscuits as there is not enough of bread in town.
Few tourists are still seen around. One Pa Modou Jobe a security guard at the Coco Ocean Hotel, said on Wednesday morning most of the tourists were booked out to go home, some went to Senegal, some went back home. “Most of those still are remaining have Gambian husbands who come here during in the evening and go together back home to spend the night there,’’ he explained. Mr. Jobe asserted that this year will be the worst for the tourism sector. He said those working are asked to stay at home till further notice. According to Jobe they may be asked not to come back since there are no tourists in the hotel. He added that this will impact on the employment in the industry as many seasonal employees will have to stay out of job earlier than usual.
Only few vehicles were plying the highway and some people can be seen trekking to work due to lack of transport. Apart from those who have matters to deal with, there is hardly anyone on the street.