Majmouth Diop head of the PAI (Parti Africain de L’Independence) says…”Casamance should be treated as the priority of all priorities”. Majmouth Diop head of a vibrant political party a respected Intellectual in Senegal and beyond was reacting to the recent killing (beheading) of Late Oumar Lamine Badji(President du conseil regional de Ziguanchor). Diop in a no nonsense tone gave a brief and clear perspective that was based on historical facts and political realities on the ground. Facts and realities that will leave many of those who sponsor the Casamance rebels spend sleepless nights. Majmouth Diop’s idea although not an old one is new on the plateau of criticism and negotiations regarding the Casamance conflict. This is a perspective based on extensive research,political realities,sharing the blames and delegated responsibility.
Majmouth Diop’s version has stirred a heated debate within intellectual circles therefore going beyond the confines of monotonous political gymnastics. His perspective is based on scary facts. They are scary for those who hide and support the seperatists while wanting to use this conflict thus keep on blackmailing Dakar. It is indeed sensible for those who want to see an end to these conflicts in Africa. Especially in zones like Casamance.
Citing one or two of Majmouth’s statements could help understand the man’s mind.
Majmouth said this….”La Casamance ne peut trouver sa place que dans une Afrique reunifiee” In the minds of chauvinists or narrow nationalists,this statement can be interpreted as an open confrontation towards leaders like Yahya Jammeh. In the minds of rational minds where power means what the people say,it could be a good opportunity to work with the present generation in Senegal and The Gambia therefore start working towards a united subregion. Then we can  present ours as a sample at the AU heading towards a solidified and united ECOWAS first!. The American dream has been realised. The African Union dream can therefore be realized without any doubt. Realistically we must start from a point. The most qualified place to start with is Senegambia. Unity is far more powerful than  the sovereignty of few families. There is a time in the past when a Gambian political figure said something similar.
He was not honoured for having started a sound intellectual perspective like that but he deserves our recognition in that regard. Majmouth is not the first one to touch on this hot stone,however,his approach is coming from a sudden event or a cause but not from a process. Whereas the Gambian politician’s was/is coming from a process. This process is an ongoing thing that is so natural. If we have other politicians like that in other countries means uniting our small countries can be realised very soon.
Majmouth further said this…”Nous avons ete balkanises au moment des Independences. Nous disions a L’epoque la situation etait invivable et non viable”-Meaning:”We have been balkanized during the post(neo) colonial era. During that period we were saying the situation was neither naturally acceptable nor viable”
The above statement is once again something that sounds so scary for leaders who want to control a territory (particularly small territory) only to be called a head of state! These are underlying feelings we refuse to touch on but are there with us everyday. This is how Czeckoslovakia was forced to be. This is the same boiling magma that helped spread the Balkan wars in Eastern Europe when those hard liner communist rulers left the scene. The two factors may appear different politically but are almost the same geographically,historically and econimically. Not forgetting the religious and ethnocentric feelings steaming beneath our feet. Is the latter not the basic instinct biting the breasts of those Casamance seperatists after all? Majmouth Diop’s spark is not all that strange within certain Intellectual circles. Infact there are Intellectuals thinking of presenting a blue print before respected panelists thus start creeping towards addressing issues like;revisiting colonial borders without allowing any subjective political barriers hinder them.
Expansion is not the idea,the idea is all about cordination of efforts. Pan Africanism is not a dream,it is reality. Casamance is a hot cake for those who want to divide the subregion and stay in power even whereas some of these post colonial fragmentations are so small and insignificant.The word balkanization reveals future conflicts if not addressed in an honest way.
Is Majmouth Diop right or wrong? This leaves an open-ended question in the minds of Interested parties. Who are these parties? The Senegambian sons and daughters.
Posted on Tuesday, January 02, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, January 30, 2007)

Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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