By Yankuba Jallow
Car parks in the Kanifing Municipality are witnessing teeming crowds of passengers on a daily basis as Gambians and non-Gambians alike are fleeing the urban area in anticipation of an eventual conflict as the expiry of the term of office of the incumbent is getting nearer amidst a political impasse following his insistence on staying.
Visiting ‘Labe’ garage near Sereknda school and Mali garage at Tallinding which serve passengers travelling to neighbouring countries in the sub-region, namely Guniea Conakry, Mali, etc. this reporter met with many people who are of Guinean nationality accompanied by their families and waiting for vehicles to return to their country of origin. These are mainly petty traders who run neighbourhood or street corner shops, local bakeries or are hawkers selling different commodities e.g. kolanuts, household wares, among others.
However, there was shortage of commercial vehicles to transport all these waiting and desperate looking families to their respective destinations. There were Gambian registered vehicles that were there whose final destination is Basse border and from where passengers can board Guinea destined vehicles.
Algasim Jallow, one of the travellers, told this reporter that he is working in a local ‘Tappa Lappa’ bakery and that many of his workers, who are also Guinean nationals, have already left. He expressed his concern that there may be shortage of bread as many of them are leaving the country.
On why he was leaving, Jallow said it is because of fear that if the incumbent does not leave office by the end of his term there might be military intervention by ECOWAS.
Another traveller said she was leaving because her husband, who is currently in Equitorial Guinea, adviced her to go back to Guinea. Mariama Jallow said she has to close her retail shop to go by the advice of her husband.
Other passengers were complaining about the hike in fares which they said is exorbitant.
The head of the car park or ‘chef de garage’ admitted that the number of passengers travelling these past few days has increased tremendously, adding that this is due to the exodus of people out of the Kombos.
According to the drivers, they used to wait for more than a week before their vehicles are full but that nowadays their vehicles get filled in a matter of one or two days.
The vehicles were fully loaded with passengers as well as their belongings such as mattresses, bales of cloth, cooking utensils and household wares, among others.