Opposition leaders say pronouncements violate Gambian constitution
By Sanna Camara
The recent statements made by the head of state of The Gambia against members of the Mandinko tribe has been described as “one of the most dangerous official statements ever made by any government in the history” of the Gambian nation.
In a joint statement issued by leaders of The Gambia’s main opposition parties this afternoon, the leaders opined that it is “ill considered, uncalled for, worrisome, and divisive in a country where tribal and religious tolerance is the envy of the world.”
“To castigate the Mandinkos, the Jammeh administration seeks to set a foundation for widespread sectarian political conflagration intentionally and specifically targeted against the specific tribe,” the statement read by Hamat Bah, leader of the opposition National Reconciliation Party. on behalf of his colleagues said.
Need to halt tribal politics and hate speech
The opposition leaders further said their reaction is not borne out of the desire to come to the defense of any particular ethnic group, and in this instance the Mandinkos. “Rather, our reaction is dictated and inspired by the urgent need to immediately halt the tribal politics and hate speech calculated to set our people against each other,” they pointed out.
The statement signed and presented by leaders Omar Jallow (OJ) of the PPP, Ousainou Darboe of the UDP, Hamat Bah of the NRP, and a representative of Mai Fatty of the GMC, went further to say: “The unbridled attack on the Mandinkos ignores the fundamental that beneath all the difference of tribe and region, faith and station, we are one people bound by common destiny.”
Intermarriages among the ethnic groups
The Gambia and Gambians have never conducted public affairs on tribal platform. There have been over the years intermarriages amongst the ethnic groups of The Gambia. There are several Mandinkos married to Jolas and the Tallinding Kunjang settlement is testimony to these marriages, the statement added.
“The pronouncement by the president and his secretary general are a direct breach of section 212 (1) and (2) of the constitution of The Gambia. The anti-Mandinko ranting by the Jammeh administration is a direct assault on Mandinkos for exercising their inalienable political ad constitutional rights guaranteed by section 25 (1) (e) of the constitution,” they further charged.