Ever since Gambians tolerated a fake revolutionary of the 1994 junta to prevail in our common national space, Gambian Muslims have been on the firing line. For good measure, Gambian Muslims have played instrumental roles in entrenching and strengthening dictator Jammeh during the 21 years of tyranny.
We have blamed Muslim Imams, Muslim preachers and praise singers – openly or subtly -for endorsing and helping President Jammeh. We have attacked, vilified and criticised nearly every Islamic figure that endorsed or anointed President Jammeh. Yet, contrastingly, we seem to ignore the critical and vital element of the ‘Gambian Christian Intellectual support’ for President Jammeh.
Although many Gambian Christians are said to have loyalty to President Jammeh, we neglect to point out that, being a minority in a country doesn’t mean you are devoid of power and influence. In fact, Gambian Christian elites have greater positional advantage in public administration in both the First and Second Republics since they were first educated few privileged to be connected to both colonial masters and the Civil Service.
In the face of Yahya Jammeh dictatorial rule, some have prevailed behind the public eye. Apart from the late Bishop Telewa Johnson who had openly rejected dictatorship, the Gambian Christian clergy behave like their Muslim counterparts. They both keep mute and publicly ignore President Jammeh’s tyranny. In fact, it is reported that behind the scenes, some of the Christian clerics secretly endorse the Monster.
With this backdrop, one would have thought that President Jammeh’s open violation of the secular mandate of our constitution – making all public offices visibly Islamic, walking around with what seems like the Holy ‘Qu’ran, and dressing in Islamic Kaftans – Gambian Christians will be the first to swell the ranks of the opposition in seeing the secular space prevail and the bias approaches of President Jammeh stopped.
However, for whatever reason, President Jammeh is certain to secure the Gambian Christain vote. This is not to say we don’t have prominent Gambian Christain personalities in the opposition. The UDP has the veteran Femi Peters, Foroyaa and PDOIS Sam Sarr, Diaspora have men such as James Bahoum, Lawrence Jabang and other human Rights Activists who express their opposition to Jammeh’s dictatorship. But in reality, a significant number of Gambians Christians have taken a backseat in the struggle.
President Jammeh’s Brufut proclamation declaring The Gambia an Islamic Republic has agitated greater number of Gambian diaspora activists, most of them Muslims. We are waiting for the Gambia Christain Council to issue a statement, which according to many people, is the right thing to do. This will tell us where they stand with regard to ensuring that their rights are protected and that justice prevails. Failure to take the bull by the horns in this case means our Christian clergies have sold themselves to the devil, which contradicts the teachings and beliefs of the Church.
The key issue here is, President Jammeh feels very comfortable with the Christain community, thus they may not find his statements threatening or odd. Our call now is upon our capable Christian brothers and sisters to come to the forefront of the struggle, and play their part in ending this uncertain future that awaits all of us.
On a personal note, a Gambian elder Christian friend confided to me last year that even at his late mother’s prayer gathering in Banjul, the Priest called for the congregation to pray for President Jammeh. “I objected and alerted the Priest that the event is a prayer gathering for my beloved mother, and not a politician.”
My friend added that the Gambia Christian Council also regularly panders to President Jammeh’s whimps, with its prominent members meeting at a bar at the YMCA road and drive to Kanilai to massage President Jammeh’s ego. One of these ego massagers is Nana Grey-Johnson, our once celebrated and respected writer who allowed Jammeh to mess him up.
The stake is now open for all of us – Muslims, Christians, secularists, and animists – to team up and remedy the Jammeh mess. Let us all see President Jammeh as a national problem, since no one is safe from his tyranny. Gambian Christians are said to constitute 10% of the population and that is a significant bracket to help tilt the tide against Jammeh.
You guys are going where no one is going. That’s very immpressive in a country where majority leaves issues in the hands of God.
If they were not worried about the wanton destruction of our social fabric (all religions meant ) until now, I see no reason for them to get out from their comfort zones. Reality is that the so called “Islamic Republic /state” is just a toothless proclamation just like the grand “presidential policy declaration” to ban English language -now 2 years running without being effected. Like my grandfather would say: Gambia will outlast any Mansa, the Christian community, can be rest assured that their faith in the Gambia, will also outlast the momentarily distractions underway.
I agree entirely with the comments. If we all stand together, Muslims and Christians we can end the dictatorship sooner. No more sensitivity with groups associating with Yaya Jammeh.
But Gambia is Islamic republic we are 94%muslim so who we are? Not a Muslim country?? Please be with Allah no with kaafree enemies of Allah just to make the west happy
You are a very retarded hater for such and absurd and stupid view of the Gambia’s public space and you lack the least idea of the values of our foundamental constitution. It might be conceptually preserved that Gambia is a predominantly muslim country, a concept that Gambian Christians, more or less, are indifferent to, both in the first republic and the dictatorship era, does not necessarily makes Gambia a Muslim republic as stipulated in our constitution of values.
The traditional peace and mutual respect amongst tribes and all religions in the Gambia is the answer. You will sink like quicksand @Soninke if your hopes are inviting the EI in the Gambia. I don’t know much, but thank God I usually figure it out when hypocrites are making a move. Watch what you incite because Gambia is a small population. We will feel it together!
Long live the Gambia Muslim and Christian brotherhood. Sad to say that few things impressed me down home except the mutual respect, love and understanding among its main religions. This the evil at work but won’t succeed Godwilling.
Christian leadership in The Gambia are equally Guilty as Muslim leaders in failing the country and her people for true and divine leadership. Christian leaders are equally prostituting their religious belief for personal interest. Being in the minority is not an excuse to speak the truth to power. Infact throughout history, it is minority which lead majority into social transformation. This has been evidence in many democratic societies. Even in The Gambia, we gain our independence because smart and hardworking citizens led the majority. Gambian Christian leadership should have been the source of moral and social justice but they are behind the scene dinning with evil dictator. Gambia as a country lack moral values even with our obsession with religious. When our leaders lack moral values, it lead to decadence of society and society lost all it major foundation for peace, progress and prosperity. Priests and all church leaders not only failed us to do their responsibilities but they have gone against the spirit of brotherhood and care for poor and oppressed people. There is no single leader who has the courage to speak up against injustices. Gambia is doom. We lost our moral compass .
This soninke guy is crazy…The things this guy comes up with are really unbelievably bizarre..
Where the hell are you from, (Mr) soninke..? I can “recognise” most people here from the way they say things, but not you..
If you are a Gambian, then there is something unGambian about you…and it bothers me…
Soninke is a half baked potato. He doesn’t understand much about religion and his comments are very unGambian. Those who try to incite religious violence will be cursed on earth and rot in hell fire in the hereafter. Gambians should be proud and jealously safe guard their excellent inter faith relationship which is second to none in the world.
Gambia is in deep shit. We underrate the implications of this stupid declaration.what most people don’t realise is that ISIS is celebrating this announcement.. They see it as a pledge of allegiance especially with the use of the word Islamic states. They even offer the president a so call protection. Oh my poor Gambia. Am shedding tears right now..as you all are not seeing what am seeing..does jammeh hate Gambia this much? God save the Gambia
This is an interesting conversation we need to have as Gambians. We cannot ignore the fact that this nation belongs to all of us neither can we sit still while Jammeh continuously rob us of our rights. And just because he has not come down on your community or banging on your door to give you unwelcome treatment, we must be equally engaged and fight alongside the victims of Yaya’s menace. Our community suffered severely under the leadership of Jammeh – the Ahmadiyya community is a living example among others. I hope a great lesson is earned here and from now on out, the collective Gambian mindset will dwell around this issue, once and for all take care of it. Our road to 2016 now becomes 2016.
Jammeh is in Nigeria. Are we going to sit around and let him return. This is another chance.
Bishop Telewa Johnson of blessed memory would have preferred to die than keep quiet. That’s why we Christians are still mourning his death. Good ones are leaving us. Instead of telling truth to the monster Gambian Christian leadership have accepted the filthy money driven from the back of poor people. The good thing is that the filth is not received in my name. I’m writing with anger because I don’t want to be part of any community that lies on silence when injustice is conquering. That’s not what Jesus Christ taught us. Shame on leaders who wine and dine with Satan, our greatest enemy.