Gambia Orders Female Workers ‘To Cover Hair’

A supporter of outgoing Gambian President Yahya Jammeh wears a T-Shirt with a portrait of her candidate on November 22, 2011 during a campaign meeting in Bakau

The Gambia’s government has banned its female employees from leaving their hair uncovered at work, a leaked memo quoted by private newspapers says.

Women should use a “head tie and neatly wrap their hair”, the memo said, without giving reasons for the ban.

Last month, The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh declared the Muslim-majority country an Islamic republic.

He added that no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practise freely.

The Gambia is popular with Western tourists because of its beaches.

Mr Jammeh withdrew the former British colony from the Commonwealth in 2013, describing the organisation as neo-colonial

The memo, dated 4 January and published in the pro-opposition Freedom and JollofNews newspapers, said that an “executive directive has been issued that all female staff within the government ministries, departments and agencies are no longer allowed to expose their hair during official working hours”.

“All are strictly advised to adhere to this new directive,” it added.

Some 90% of Gambians are Muslim.

When Mr Jammeh declared The Gambia an Islamic republic, he said the move was in line with the West African nation’s “religious identity and values”.

His critics said the declaration was intended to deflect attention from the poor state of the economy, including the rise in the price of basic commodities.

Many Muslim scholars believe that Islam requires Muslim women to cover their hear in public.

However, the requirement is not strictly adhered to in The Gambia.

First Lady Zineb Yahya Jammeh has previously appeared in public with her hair uncovered.

In November, the Gambian leader banned female circumcision, saying it was not required in Islam.

Mr Jammeh, who seized power in 1994 as a 29-year-old army lieutenant, is accused by rights activists of presiding over a brutal regime which is intolerant of dissent.

The European Union temporarily withheld aid money to The Gambia in 2014 over its poor human rights records.

Source: BBC News



  1. This is the effect of forceful “neocolonial-Islamisation” of Gambia by armed kanilai Idolatrous worshipper playing deceitfully religious; for political PURPOSES only; as majority of Gambia are born Muslim; Evil Murderous kanilai Lunatic can continue manipulative oppression of population, through such threatening directives “memos”, in an enslaved civil service, armed forces & private sector….

    Evil Idolatrous yaya DEVIL only manipulates religion where it suits its scum self, for cajoling selfish aggrandizement to linger uncontrol of peoples lives…???

    Let’s see if dubious she-DEVIL Zenab will play along as well & cover up from now on, in public…??

    The truth about religion, state of decency towards fellow human beings, & judicious dispensations of responsibilities in public office, etc, are ACCOUNTABLE at one point to the other….?

    And there’s “rewards”, & ending, in ALL things humans do unto each other; one either sides with the DEVIL & face consequences, or Truth, which is God Himself….

  2. Thank you Mr. President. You are the Mansa Kan Kan Musa of the present day Mali Empire. If you are a Muslim, then act like one. As simple as that. It’s only the hypocrites that are complaining.

    If this is something that white people practice, we will just follow them. Why are black people so stupid that we cannot be a proud people.

    At some point Africa will be free and Jammeh have started the awakening. For those people who are assimilated in the west, don’t even bother. You might as well stay wherever you are. We will never succumb to the west. These are the people that enslaved Africans for 400 years.

    We will practice our own cultures and religions even if it means hell fire. Among those religions are Islam and Christianity.

  3. I am not Yahya Jammeh’s supporter but as a Muslim woman, she has to cover her hair. Whether zainab Yahya Jammeh do it or not that’s his husband’s unfulfilled responsibility. Because every family head, president, leaders and etc will be question by Allah about their people or families that they lead. I think if first lady zainab Yahya Jammeh don’t cover her hair, then Yahya Jammeh is completely hypocrite because charity begins at home. But let nobody deny that as a Muslim woman, she should cover her head in public.

    • “let nobody deny that as a Muslim woman, she should cover her head in public…”

      Question for you : What about the non-Muslim Civil Servants, because the directive made no distinction between Muslims and Non-Muslims ?

      Is it right to impose Muslim religious dress code on them or you don’t care about their rights..?

    • This most recent executive directive and the threat of yet another witch hunt hanging over the heads of villages across Foni, as well as, the numerous (both known and unknown) actions of Yaya Jammeh that violate the constitution and trample on individual and collective rights with impunity, does beg the question : IS THE GAMBIA A FAILED STATE..?

      My answer is,”YES”, The Gambia is indeed, a failed state…Not in the conventional sense where certain factors, such as the breakdown of Law and Order, the absence of a central authority, loss of control over national sovereignty, inability to provide basic services to all, (etc) must be present for a state to be considered a failed one…

      However, If we go by the broader and more radical conceptualization of failed states, which also includes the ones who fail…




      then it becomes evident that The Gambia is indeed a failed state…

      The entire population is at the mercy of the volatile temperaments of the chief executive, and thus, the state is unable to provide protection for any who “cross his lines…”

      The most beautiful rights are enshrined in the constitution but they are as worthless as the paper they are written on because the chief executive don’t give a damn …

      Whilst the state institutions only have the semblance of democracy, but are as undemocratic as the word itself, and completely weak and ineffective..

      Therefore our country, under the current dispensation, is a failed state….

      NB…(nevertheless Max, the constitution must still be quoted to Yaya Jammeh to expose him)

      • Ps: this broader and radical conceptualization of a failed state was provide by the author, Naom Chomsky…sorry for the oversight ..

  4. To Malang and Ediboy. This is a simple question that I want you to answer:
    Did Jammeh and the AFPRC take power in 1994 in the name of Islam?
    Was Jammeh voted into office in the name of Islam?
    Why don’t you tell Jammeh to stop the beauty pageant programs.
    Why don’t you tell him to close the banks that practice “ribaa”? also close “Julbrew” factory? close all bars and restaurants that sell alchahol? etc…
    You people are not muslims you are simply Jammeh loyalists period.

  5. Bax,
    Let me not waste time to answer your question. The covering of woman employees should only apply to the Muslim women and not non Muslim women. But if any Christian or non Muslim woman want to go ahead and cover her hair like sisters in Christianity has to be their own free will.
    Deyda Hydara, you have raised a very important questions which Yahya Jammeh has to carefully thought before declared Islamic Republic. I agreed with you 100% about those questions period. Very good points and question Mr Hydara. But I am really talking about what the Quran said about Muslim women dress code of wearing hijab and not that double standard hypocrite Yahya Jammeh’s executive directive order while according to some people said that his own wife zainab Yahya Jammeh didn’t cover her hair. That is called double standard hypocrite act by Yahya Jammeh. Deyda Hydara, you are wrong to said I am Yahya Jammeh loyalist. That’s completely wrong. I will let you go back to my previous comments I made against monster dictator Yahya Jammeh on this I live in madison Wisconsin, so you asked people about about my opposition against Yahya Jammeh dated back since 1994 up to date. But when comes to religion affairs and it is also written in the Holy Quran, I will said the truth with regardless what others thing. Period!!!

    • Ediboy, I apologize for thinking that you are a Jammeh supporter. The error came in when the issue came from Jammeh’s mouth and actions. Anything that comes from Jammeh has a hidden agenda and this one is simply to canvas for votes from the muslim community. I will tell him hurray! if he starts by releasing our venerable Imams arrested for no just cause and denied justice and family visits. In fact one of the Imam’s wife is related to my wife. Jammeh is a fake muslim period. He always signals left only to turn right, he is a dangerous driver.

  6. I was surprised of what I saw at under first lady column where I saw the first lady zainab Yahya Jammeh sitting down without any cover on her hair. I wonder what Yahya Jammeh will say about that. That show the double standard hypocrisy by Yahya Jammeh and I hope he follow this proverbs CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME. His wife should and must be good role model but despite her uncover hair, I still advocate Muslim women to wear hijab and not non Muslim women period. Mt main reason is because it is directive order by ALLAH to the Muslim women to cover their hairs and dress appropriately. We should all encourage that to our fellow Muslim women particularly this young generation Muslim women dressing very inappropriately that even non Muslim women didn’t dress like that. Let’s called a shade a shade; it is happening in our country the gambia and when they come to western countries here, it gets worse and yet they called themselves Muslim women which non Muslim women don’t dress like that. That’s horrible and pathetic.

  7. I am a 100% supporter of Jammeh not because of his personal life but because of what he has done for the Gambian people.

    To bring Gambian Muslims in line with Islam just add to that list.

    Hydara, am sorry, but ediboy just show how ignorant you are. Maybe next time you will know the facts before jumping on the band wagon criticizing everyone. Thank you.

    • Malang don’t piggyback on Ediboy, he lambasted you and clearly distanced himself from supporting a fake muslim like Yaya Jammeh your killer and prostitute mentor.
      Allah said those who steal and those who hide their booty for them are all the same and will suffer the same punishments. This is also true for alcohol issues in the Koran.
      You are not only a supporter of evil but also a participant in evil deeds.

  8. Malang, seriously you are not worth my time debating this hypocrite so called Bali Mansa Yahya Jammeh. You have every right to supporter Yahya Jammeh but what he wants to apply on Gambian Muslim women in terms of hijab, he should start from his own household as a typical example. That’s double standard hypocrisy. Like I said you support him any how you like because even tyrant Pharoah and Namuruji the time of prophet Abraham, some stupid ungodly people like you do support them despite those ruthless tyrants are onslaught their populace like Gambian dictator Yahya jammeh. So Malang feel free to support him. I do support Muslim women to wear hijab because it is stated in the Holy Quran which I have never have doubt about that holy book. But how can that hypocrite ruthless president Yahya Jammeh imposed something while his own wife dress like beauty pageant contestant. That’s what sick into my stomach when I visited and show his wife picture there and her picture in white house with president obama, Michelle obama, her and her ruthless grimace husband with Tasbi and that idol worshipper stick with fake Quran on his right or left hand. Even prophet Muhammad (saw) never walk around with Tasbiya and Quran in his hand and nor with any of this companions (Sahabas). So let me ask you Malang why Yahya Jammeh have to things in his hand everywhere? You said what he bring to Gambian Muslim in line, that sentence need to rewrite again because as I said charity begins at home.

  9. Ediboy – I hope you realise how manipulative a simple support for a non-issue as Islam, Hijab or western bashing, in the gambia’s context , plays into the propaganda bandwagon of the so called Bolong-bili Mansa.
    These issues are a attention diverting exploits. Remember somalia or sudan. These failed states started out like this. Let’s focus attention on the mission of change.