Gambia Belongs To All Tribes


By Sulayman Touray 

The Gambia belongs to all of us regardless of our tribes or political affiliation.

Under the dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, you would always find at least three or more political parties in operation in the Gambia at a given time, but never before has any party faced the same amount of brutality, hatred and persecution as the United Democratic Party (UDP). Undoubtedly, the UDP received the highest brunt of Yaya Jammeh’s dictatorship brutality. Since its inception in 1996, the UDP has been the punching bag of the Jammeh dictatorship. It received more blows than any other political party. It is wrong to assume that the unjustifiable hatred against the largest opposition party is limited to Yahya Jammeh. Evidently, the UDP is treated the same hatred by some key figures in the struggle. The UDP hatred is seen and felt on the online media whose anchors unload their bullets on the party that needs their solidarity.

Yahya Jammeh is like Satan who doesn’t tell the truth but capable of polluting innocent minds. That is exactly his goal when he labelled the UDP as a Mandinka party. It is the lie of the century. But this is not something new because the ousted PPP was once called a Mandinka party even though all tribes are represented in the party. It was until when the PPP gained power to govern, those unfounded allegations died down. And in a dramatic twist, the very people who used to make such allegations turned around and rallied behind Sir Dawda Jawara and his PPP government. These people eventually hijacked the entire PPP party and occupied almost all the key government positions. 

All the political observers in the Gambia and in diaspora know very well that there is not an iota of truth in the narrative that UDP is a Mandinka party. One has to look at the leadership structure of UDP since 1996 which always comprises of all the tribes in the Gambia and this includes the key prominent figures like Single Nyassi who was from Yahya Jammeh’s own Jola tribe.

But even if the UDP is a Mandinka party, which it’s not, why should they be at the receiving end of such a sheer hostility, when great Mandingkas like Faramang Singhateh, Dawda Kairaba Jawara, Shireff Mustapha Dibba, Shireffo Ceesay, and Bakery Bunja Darboe and so on, have left their mark on Gambian history. Without these people, Gambian history is incomplete. I don’t think anyone is scared to see the likes of above mentioned in the mantle of power in the Gambia. They cannot be compared to Jammeh whose 22 years of brutality has reaped the country apart.  

The truth must be told. The voices that were saying in 1962 that Jawara should never become president of the republic of Gambia for no other reasons other than being a Mandinka are still within our midst today. I firmly believe the same similar voices are the stumbling block in our effort to get rid of Jammeh. And unless we get over this hatred and hypocrisy, Jammeh’s self-perpetuated tyrannical impunity will continue to prevail over us. We have reached a point in which we must put aside our differences and unite in our efforts to send our lone enemy Yahya Jammeh packing.   

Interestingly, you will hear some of this people in the open, saying they don’t belong to any political grouping in the Gambia but in their private conversation, they would admit preferring Yahya Jammeh to stay in charge than seeing a Mandinka as his (Jammeh’s) successor to him. I believe these are the real enablers of Jammeh and they present more danger to Gambia than Jammeh himself.

Of course, no single tribe owns the Gambia and I would never entertain or condone any tribe for that matter to claim that the Gambia belongs to them. But equally, I don’t believe the notion in some quarters that it should be the turn of other tribes who have not tasted presidency.  This illogical and hypocritical thinking is seriously undermining our efforts to form a unified front in our struggle against Jammeh. The Gambia is for all Gambians and it should be Gambians who should collectively choose their next president. It has come to a point in which every mean is necessary to get rid of the rotten dictatorship.  

My fellow Gambians let’s come together in this critical moment of our history as one force to bail out our beloved Gambia from the clutches of Yahya Jammeh’s barbaric, tyrannical dictatorship. If not, we will be doom for generations to come which will not be in the interest of any single tribe, including Jammeh’s own Jola tribe. And it will be utter selfishness to destroy the future chances of our children yet to be born for not acting as one unified force to rescue our country from the tyranny of Jammeh.




  1. You made very good points . The enemy of change will rather see Jammeh to continue his brutality than to rally behind the main opposition party udp which has been receiving majority of atrocities . The notion that it is turn of other tribe as in the case of supporters of NRP and GDC would suggest , I think such a notion is not only absurd and stupid but it is an insult to the intelligence of Gambian people, violations of our constitution and low thinking for the office of presidency . The office of president should be occupied by any qualify Gambian citizen regardless of tribal affiliation .If such tribal rotation notion is to go by , Jammeh would not have been president in the first place because his tribe is at the bottom of the ladder as far as population count is concerned , that is percentage of jola people is lower compare to Mandinkas, Fula and Wolof . Such a backward thinking is not going to help our democratic process . If the next most qualify president is a Fula or jola , Mandinka, let Gambians vote based on qualifications such as experience , education or other leadership qualities such as inclusiveness , visionary , resolute , inspiring , humble and connected to the people . Such a leader must have multidimensional leadership characteristics which includes having excellent relationship building capability. The popularity of mr mama kandeh who is the least qualify candidate is driven by such absurd notion. I hope and pray that Jammeh will be replaced by indigenous Gambian citizen who has deep rooted connection to our people and who has sympathy and empathy for our people .

    • The idea that leadership should be by turn ( of tribe) is absurd and nonsensical, but so too is the notion that persecution or being the most persecuted party, entitles one to leadership.

      Pitical Leadership should be based on policies and programmes or at the very least, those qualities that you identified..

      I wonder how far back one has to trace their roots in The Gambia to qualify for your label of “indigenous citizen”..? Can you give us an idea.. ?

      Is it 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation Gambians or do you have to go much further back. ..?

      • Bax , i view indigenous Gambian as any citizen who has strong root and connection to our country. I must be able to trace his family history whether recently that is first generation , 2 nd , 3rd and so on . He/she should be a native Gambian who really know people , have sympathy and empathy for our people. That is my preference. I understand our constitution qualify any Gambian born or naturalized citizen but personally i will only support indigenous citizen who has deep rooted connection to our country and he /she must demonstrate good leadership qualities , education, sympathy and empathy for the people but if he is bad indigenous citizen with bad leadership qualities i wont support him.. i support Darboe because he is indigenous citizen, with excellent background ,education and good leadership qualities, but unfortunately he is not qualify because of age limit and he is also in prison. I will support anyone who has similar background with him regardless of tribe. I believe in our people and i know it was a mistake to have yaya jammeh as the leader of the coup because he did not have root and connection to our country .Constitutionally he is a Gambian citizen. Jammeh did not have strong family ties in our country , therefore he has zero sympathy and empathy . I look into the background , education , leadership qualities as well as human connection ( sympathy and empathy ) in my choice.
        This is my preference . what about you ? would you support another ” anchor baby” who will never have sympathy and empathy for our people .

      • @Bax, every policy and programme’s deployment in governing is supposed to be determined by votes i guess, be it that, majority of those votes comes from a most persecuted political party in the country or not. ‘Majority’, in a democratic political play field is not a joke thing even if that majority heeds to ethnocentric sentiments!
        I don’t have to doubt that you guys want a country where you can just go and make a round table talk, to come out and annouce to the ordinary Gambians, ‘yeah, we have discussed it amongst ourselves and we have decided……………………………’ I have seen clearly what you always try to put across when it comes to the issue ‘major opposition party’; you think these votes are cast by unware people who are unqualified to vote against the PDOIS’s programmes and policies. This is what you don’t want to say and you keep beating around the bush.

  2. Well said.

    The Gambian problem is much bigger than tragic jammeh…..

  3. The problem I have is our continuation to describe ourselves as “tribes.” We should simply stop this. The word was coined to describe backwarded people who are thousands of years behind civilisation. It is now that some dictionaries try to moderate the definition.

    In the UK, for example, they speak different languages – Wales have Welsh with different dialects; England mostly speaks English with different dialects some of whom find it difficult to understand each other depending on the region; Scotland speak Scottish Gaelic, Scottish and English all with different dialects again depending of the region. No where will you see them describing each other as “tribes.” This is because the original word is derogatory.

    The sooner we stop describing each other as “tribes” the better.


    • Thanks very much wise Morro. TRIBE…….? It means a kinship of retarded savages who could rampage on another kinship to devour each other in bloodbaths. They are usually constant menaces to each other, especially when they are neighbours or share boundaries. Its our choice if we are to evolve or remain primitive in a basically modern world.
      I think Gambia needs good people in its public space who are aware of the latter.
      Once again, thank you Morro for the facts. I have not heard an enlightener like it since.

  4. Probably poking malice and sowing hate among the tribes is the singular most misjudgment of this regime. They may have people like Sam sarr or Ex-army Gano filled with bigotry and resentment towards the Mandinka but the vast majority of other tribes in the Gambia cherish their bond with the Mandinkas. Every village in the Gambia has assimilated one tribe or the other. The name Jammeh cannot be entirely categorized as Jola just like my friend Cham who barely speak Wolof or my aunt who married into the Njie’s(who consider themselves Mandinkas).

    I think the Mandinka phobia is even the greatest blessing for the country. For one thing, it has alienated the regime from its main support base because the majority of the people behind them were Mandinkas. So the wolf has finally revealed his true intentions. In the past such malice against the Mandinka were uttered by surrogates vying for position like Sam Sarr or other frustrated zealots. But when the so called Babili mansa (a Mandinka title) uttered the virus of hate into the open space then it became abundantly clear to every Mandinka that their existence and that of their offspring are at risk of termination. Therefore only unreservedly optimist Mandinka will muster the courage to stay with him.

    Secondly, this phobia has opened the possibility for many entities to answer in kind or sketch a different, progressive version of the Gambia. UDP has being the most successful party in that sphere. They have responded by selecting a flag bearer NOT based on his ethnic lineage but based on his loyalty to the party in a transparent leadership contest with an outcome respected by all it members. The regime strategists were banking on a disarrayed leadership bloodletting if the person selected is not a Mandinka.
    If any, the selection of Mr. Barrow simply dispels the notion that we are homogeneous folks. We are, like all countries the entire world, a heterogeneous community of people yearning for peaceful co-existence within the framework of justice, fair play and mutual respect. The Mandinkas see their neighbors not as people of other tribes but as “neighbors” with whom they inter-marry, cooperate in socio-economic spheres, upbringing of children, schooling and the likes. The person of Mr. Barrow also shows that you can be both at once and being one does not exclude being another. You can speak Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Sarahule, Jola and all these languages without negating your belonging to any one particular ethnic group.

    Finally, I think we have a task ahead. The task is to have this regime rid-of and ushering in new minds that can represent the whole Gambia and get rid of a narrow mind besotted with resentment. UDP must lead by these principles and keep the hand extended for a coalition. I believe Mr. Barrow with his background is the ideal person to forge ahead compromise that can brings about unity. If the party led coalition is not viable, he should avail on the UDP to support an independent candidate. This credible independent candidate, so far, is Dr. Touray. With the committed backing of the main parties on the ground, she will provide a formidable challenge and can usher in a peaceful change.

    • Faith in tribe indicates a people’s lack of civilisation. If I think I belong to a specific tribe that is referred to derogatively, I won’t think I am offended by those derogatives, what I would think of this type is; he wish he is in my shoe. Let’s unsung it like the word never existed Mr. Kinteh because we won’t be able to find any better solution for it than this way.

      • Ggapm, I am agreement with you and Morro.

        Personally I see beyond the derogative remarks. Seeing them as the manifestation of a troubled personality with deep resentment.

        I am nevertheless cautious about the potentials of destruction such derogative are intended to inflict on our cherished diversity, bonds and our harmonious social interactions on a daily basis. It is also important to enlighten those who have taken offense at the derogative comments. They also need to see beyond the divisive mindset.

  5. The Gambia belongs to all Gambians and each has a duty to expose any tendencies of tribe or tribal machinations in the country’s politics or social interactions, but we must be careful not to over elaborate on tribe, least we accentuate, in our national discourse, the very tribal vice that we are so concerned about and wish to expunge from our politics.

    There is nothing wrong with individuals being proud of who or what they are, and where they originated from, and wanting to express this for the whole world to know (with all their histories of glamour, affluence, religiosity, heroism or what have you), but in the context of the modern state, especially in this day and age, tribe like religion, as far as I’m concerned, should be confined to the personal space and never brought into the public space, except to showcase the richness of our national culture, being made up of our diverse individual tribal cultures; whether that is in the performing arts, like music and drama or sports, like wrestling etc.

    The Gambia has a rich and diverse culture, being the result of our ethnic or tribal diversity and this must not only be showcased regularly, but it must be celebrated and proudly so too, because it is what makes us who we are today.

    My position on the use of the word, “tribe”, is somewhat different from what I have seen so far, though I perfectly understand why some people may express reservation in its usage in our discussions.

    My personal view is that our use of English words should be understood from our culture in English and its usage, as language itself is not separable from the culture of the people that use it, and the English Language, being a global language for over a century, at least, must be understood from that perspective.

    We in The Gambia have interacted with English for so long that it has become part of our culture and how we express ourselves in it or by it, and how this expression is understood by us, is perhaps unique to only us, which is equally true for every English speaking nation, including the home nations of the UK.

    For example, in England, I can ask someone “not to be silly”, even in an argument, without getting a violent reaction and the remark may even pass unnoticed, but I will probably get a bloody nose, if I was to say the same thing in an argument in The Gambia. The reason being the difference in usage and understanding of that phrase (don’t be silly) in the two cultures. Generally, it is not viewed as an offensive phrase in England, whereas it is viewed so in The Gambia.

    Viewed from that perspective, the argument can be advanced that the word, tribe, is not a negative word in The Gambia because it does not carry the same connotation in our English, as it may do in other nations’ English.

    If I say, for example, that the Fulas are a tribe of cattle herders, I am NOT implying that they are “retarded savages who could rampage and devour each other or others”, even if that is how the dictionary defines the word. We have a completely different understanding of the word and that is how its usage should be seen in our discussions.

    My view on tribe is that whilst we may continue to identify ourselves as belonging to tribes, and being proud about it, we should understand and be made to understand, that our National Identity as Gambians, supersedes and is far superior to all other considerations, and no amount of resources and efforts should be spared, in not only drumming this into our national consciousness and psyche, but also concretising it into our nation’s way of life and development aspirations.

    And perhaps, one of the best ways to do this, is to seriously begin to consider the need for developing a National Language that can meet the challenges of living in this age of advanced Science and technology, and which can gradually and eventually become the medium of instruction in our schools and may be, even an official language one day.

    Developing and using ONE National Language will not only help to further cement the bond and affinity that exist between us as Gambians ( as according to Mandinkas, those who speak the same language have greater sympathy and love for one another), but it will also give us the perfect tool we require to train and develop the minds of our young people and make it easier for them to grasp those concepts that have allowed other nations to enjoy unprecedented breakthrough in various Scientific and technological fields.

    It is only through such bold actions that our place, survival and right to occupy our place under this sun, as civilised people, can be justifiably guaranteed. If we fail to do that, then the never ending reality of continuing to occupy our place as the down trodden, wretched, insignificant, abused and misused people of this earth, will be our story unfortunately.

    • I haven’t read an ethnocentric guy in the forums like you. This is why many see you as merely a witty writer.
      Which language in the Gambia would you suggest to be developed and used as the national language?
      Evading this question as you usually do will only demonstrate hypocrisy.

    • Bax

      I think you are simply rambling here. I read your comment several time but could not see any substance in it. Morro and others have clearly stated in simple and logical language why we should not describe our selves as tribes. I entirely believe in him. In fact after reading his comment I asked about 9 people in UK so far about what tribe they belong to. May see the question as been a nonsense. They said you find tribes in Africa, the Amazon, Asia… and not in advanced and civilised countries. I listened to the words of an elderly person very carefully who told me that this emphasis on tribes is not only demeaning but ways of continually dividing us. The correct term is ethnicity. That is what they use in UK and Europe despite numerous languages. In fact I see Halifax using the term “ethno linguistic”. Which I see as the best terminology; ethnicity in terms of languages. I support Morro and others following my conversations with wise people that we should simply not use it to describe our selves.

      There are in fact many European countries where different languages are spoken but they do not use the term; they use it only when they are talking about us. It reminds me about female circumcision. We have always been calling it that way but suddenly changed to more insulting terms – FGM because one woman who came up with the terminology thinks coming up with that description is they only way to attract attention and support regardless of whether is insulting to us or not.

  6. Max…

    Except for “roots and connection”, I will agree with your idea of a leader. In my view, anyone who holds a Gambian citizenship by birth, grew up in the country and understands the cultures, traditions and ways of the Gambian People, should be qualified to become our leader, provided he/she possesses the other qualities you mentioned.

    Naturalised citizens, on the other hand, need time to assimilate into the Gambian way before they should be allowed to hold public office. This may be seen as discrimination but it is for the greater good because it protects the health of our society and security of the nation.

    • Bax , citizenship is a privilege which must be protected and jealously safeguarded . We must make sure that if any one want to be a Gambian citizen , he or she must deserve it by showing exemplary qualifications and standard that match with our laws and cultural values. If you look at the west , they have recognized that citizenship is exceptional privilege with acceptable standard of human decency and good moral values of their country . In The Gambia , our way of life has drastically changed when we allowed people who do not have our cultural values to become leaders and key players in our public domains . Example , looking at the impact of Nigerian movie scavengers in The Gambia today , it is disheartening to see majority Gambians watching Nigeria movies which are destroying our culture and way of life . Most of those movies are teaching our young people to be criminals , becomes obsessive with sexual activities and they do not have anything which develop intellectual minds of our people . Those movies has no educational purposes to advance scientific innovations, business entrepreneurism and agricultural production . Our country become the marketing places for anyone with criminal intent because we have a leader who do not have roots and connections to our country . It is the same way , failed Jamaican Musicians have used our country and our people for financial exploitation at the request of the Dictator who careless about anything “Gambia”. We must love ourselves and love our people . We must be conservative to preserve who we are as people while we welcome those with good characters and human decency . We must be nationalistic in everything we do . We must preserve the traditional Gambia where no one has to be worried about your next door neighbor . If we allow people who have strong connections and roots to criminal activities to be our leaders then our society will turn into violent society . This is one of the reasons why Gambia and Gambians have changed so much in the past 22 years .

  7. Quotes @Ggapm :

    1. “Evading this question as you usually do will only demonstrate hypocrisy.”

    I don’t evade you pal. I just avoid engaging you because you seem to be on a different level to me. Until I get to your level, there is no point in engaging you. It is frustrating for me to try to follow someone I can’t always understand…May be, the problem is me; not you.

    2. “I haven’t read an ethnocentric guy in the forums like you. ”

    May be, you should share with us what your understanding of ethnocentric is…As far as I know, ethnocentric is one who believes that his/her group standards (values, culture, language, etc) is superior to all.

    Unless you have a different understanding, I don’t see how my views above constitute “ethnocentrism”.. Which group did I view as superior to all else and who did I judge based on that (superior) group’s standards..? Let’s hear it…

    3. “This is why many see you as merely a witty writer.”

    I didn’t know you carried out a survey on this forum to find out how I am viewed..? Could you tell us how many took part in the exercise and what percentage viewed me as you claimed..?

    You know what failure to do so would mean, don’t you..?

    4. “Which language in the Gambia would you suggest to be developed and used as the national language?”

    First, do you agree or oppose the idea of developing a language that all Gambians (and interested residents) can speak..? Let’s hear what your view is on that before we can hold any further discussions on the matter. The ball is now in your court..

    By the way, make it simple for me to understand….

  8. I got nothing to make simple for your understanding pal. Simple and lay is the name of my language even in local. Urging you to give me an answer doesn’t necessarily mean, I want to engage you in anything specific in the forums if not to make my probes into realities surrounding the Gambia’s national predicament and its resolve. As a citizen with due rights, I think I can ask of any other citizen in the forums a question i may think worthwhile as long as it is within the public domains. I bet, you are never at ease with simple and straight forward language. Your writings are the type that makes me wanna call my lawyer! Debating with writings like that are very unscrupulous and unkind in a national predicament.

    And by the way, what makes you think I can have a doubt saying, ‘I haven’t read an ethnocentric guy in the forums like you’? But what the wreck is causing all this arrogance in you dude? What made you think you can induce your dictionaries’ definitions of words in my understanding? What I do of words is; have my understanding of the dictionaries’ definitions of words and not a memory of those definitions. Perhaps you have seen the forums to be testers to our essay writng abilities but others may be seeing it as a discoursion platform equal to the tea-drinking-sessions around the kettle. What I am saying in my reaction to your comment is that; that comment and similars ones of yours are nothing but clever denotations of arrogance and ethnocentrism. That’s what I’m saying.

    With the idea of developing a language to be used in the Gambia…..? Damn! I do. Now tell me which one…come on tell me..

    • Well, if you agree with the idea of a language that all Gambians can speak, which I call a National Language (I don’t know what you will call it), why did you react in the way you did…?

      You chastised me, as an ethnocentric, for suggesting a national language, but now turn around to admit that you agree with the idea…What type of thinking is this…? May be you should tell us how you think we should go about developing the language you want all to speak.

      As for me, it will suffice to remind you (if you ever knew) that somewhere in the archives of the Curriculum Development Center, is a file of an unfinished project, from the 1st Republic, on this very subject. So the ground work for a National Language has already been laid, for your information.

      You accused me of ethnocentrism and in order to rubbish your accusations, I have to make sure that we have the same understanding of the word.

      I only asked what your understanding of the word is, and not “induced any definition into your understanding”, but rather than do the civilised thing and defend your position with facts, you have decided to launch personal attacks.

      I don’t do such things anymore. I have learnt from experience that such an approach is counterproductive and unhelpful. In any case, I’m not going to be distracted by such tactics.

      Again, I will ask you to share your understanding of an ethnocentric, and using your definition, to give quotes from any of my previous comments to substantiate the charge you made against me.

      I will never shy away from comments that require either an answer, a reaction or clarification from me, but only when I understand the gist of what is being stated. I avoid you (not evade) because I can’t understand what you’re saying most of the time.

      Like it or not, that’s how it is.and frankly, I don’t care a butut what your views are on my comments or my style.

      • Look at your pretended show of intelligence and blatant hypocrisy answering a question with an irrational question in our reactions above……Fine, there is nothing bad about that if you think so but you demonstrate to be idiot again when you need an answer from me, if I agree with the idea of developing a language to be used as a national languge…. I said, ‘damn, I agree’ meaning you now have to tell me which language you would suggest to be developed as a national language. You didn’t give a specific answer but you went on revealing archives as if those archives are classified secrets that you think should never be made known to the Gambian public, much more it’s laymen like @Ggapm………….Stop your show of arrogance and writing nonsense pretending I write a language you don’t understand. This is another ignorant show of your creepiness. I accused you of ethnocentrism for the simple fact that your comments are full of translated or mis-translitrated Mandinka proverbs and phrases that you consciously or ignorantly use in the wrong place and point in time of debates. I don’t have to refer you to any caption or moment in time during debates because I am sure very comment is a reading material for someone somewhere in these forum. It is absolute honor for me if all folks say to me, ‘Ggapm! stop writing garbage’. That still inspires me to read material ones. You may not be a politician but I wouldn’t think it sensible that a MP representing me saying to me, ‘no I’m not evading your question, I’m trying to avoid it’………….
        You don’t know how I see it pal. There is nothing to like or dislike here other than progresses or retrogressions respectively, in the national resolve. Atleast you acknowledged to understand in my language that I hold a view of your comment and style….., whatever style means to you there. Bro you’re irrelevant, in a nutrshell.

  9. Lang. ..

    You are entitled to your views, though I disagree with you that I have been rambling.

    I have not argued for the continued use of tribe to identify ourselves, and I don’t see any need for supporting one view point against another, because doing so would seem to suggest that we are engaged in a “for” or “against” debate; nor do I see how substituting “tribe” with “ethnic group” is going to help our cause, if people put ethnic loyalty above all else.

    Furthermore, a look into the history of the advanced countries, UK included, will reveal that tribe have been used to describe the people who lived in these parts, before they became nations speaking ONE NATIONAL LANGUAGE.

    May be, when we succeed in creating a national language and can produce 2/3 generations of Gambians who speak only our national language, then our tribal identity will disappear….

    just like that of the Novantae and Selgovae (in present day Scotland), the Brigantes and the Parisi (in present day England) and the Deceaghli and the Ordovices (in present day Wales). Today, the only nationality relevant to the lives of these people, formerly of different tribes, is British : comprising Scots, English, Welsh, etc..

    I do not think merely substituting the word “tribe” with “ethnic group” is going to make much of a difference in attitudes and perceptions, unless the National Identity is given priority over all else, nor do I think that Gambians associate tribe with “rampant ravagery” when we use it today.

    That is my point and if you find that to be mere ramblings, then I can only disagree with you.

    • Bax,

      The use of one national language has absolutely nothing to do with what words we use to describe our selves; accept whatever words are used on us. In fact I want to point out to you that in the UK there are several national languages contrary to what you are saying. One example is in Wales where you have Welsh and English. There is also a similar situation in Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland (if I could remember). You are definitely relating things which are completely different and going online to look at some history and cut and paste is neither helpful. It is the realities that matter.

      In fact under the current circumstances hence considering the complexities (economic, social, etc) around introduction of one national language, it is not possible in almost all the West African countries I know of. Besides all, I would like to put it to you that we should in fact cherish our languages, come up with comprehensive policies and programmes to make sure no language is extinct hence support those languages that are spoken by considerable minority few. To cut things short you are relating things which are not at all the same.

      Yes, if your argument is in the context of development, I may kind of agree with you. This is in the sense that people will find it easy to understand literature in their own languages than in languages they have to learn. There is a research that I came across sometime ago which found that there is significant association between language and development; in that countries that are using their own languages are more developed than those that are not using their own. But we have now past that stage where any West African country can choose one of its local languages as the national language. For example, the reason Rwanda did not choose one of its local languages instead of changing from French to English speaks volumes. And you have similar situations in most African countries.

  10. Ggapm…

    I really have no time for your foolishness, but here is what I wrote about our National Language, just to satisfy your curiosity and expose your stupidity, as well :

    Quote @Bax: “…..the need for developing a National Language that can meet the challenges of living in this age of advanced Science and technology,….”

    Observation : Anybody with an iota of intelligence can see that my idea of a National Language, is one that could not be fulfilled by any of our present day languages by themselves, because none could meet the challenges posed by advances in Science and Technology.

    There is none that even has the simplest scientific terms or names, never mind complicated formulas, etc..

    Hence, asking to know which should be chosen as a National Language constitutes unimaginable stupidity, to say the least, and an indication of gross incompetence..

    I am not a linguist but obviously, the basis for a National Language must be one, two or several local languages, and may need to incorporate foreign words or coin own new words, in order to meet the challenges we face today.

    Many National Languages around the world incorporate foreign words and add new ones all the time. Last month alone, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added more than 500 new words, phrases and senses into the English Language, including such words as SPLENDIFEROUS, DAHLESQUE, YOGALATES, etc.

    For the records, none of our languages today, can answer that challenge by itself. Hope you get that into your effing thick skull.

  11. You love pasting excerpts but you will never be able to paste others in where you image fits. All you are writing here is perfect boredom that has nothing to do with what we are talking about. A typical freaky intellectual is what you are. Who care about how many new words are being added in the oxford dictionary. Why the hell do you think dictionaries got editions?
    The best way you can demonstrate to Gambians you are not a mere dreamy nerd is to start inventing alphabets that your projected language can be developed with hence none of our local language proves suitable for the purpose.
    I am amased how come you can be talking with yourself like this. You’re asked a question that you only answered with a question for an answer. When I said, ‘damn!’ I do support the idea of a national language to be developed, on the pretext that you are not going to say what you think until I tell you if I support the idea of a national laguage to be developed or not. You didn’t have a thing to say from that point on other than to dive into irrelevance telling us about the new intakes into the OED. I am not at all impressed with that type of a heads-up on the dictionaries as I have seen former colonial subjects being asked the meaning of english words by english speaking Britons themselves. You practically won’t know all the words in dictionaries even if you are shakespeare’s nephew; if i know all of them, I prefer using some of them in comedy projects. You don’t have to play any tricks in getting to know folks opinions or views as long as we strive for democracy. I will bet that you guys at Doy don’t have democratic mindsets. You love to look important, intelligent and unnessarily secretful within the public environ as if you have acquired education in North Korea.
    Just try to learn from some European countries and their multiple languages as @Lang hinted. You don’t need a show of academism or intelligent tricks to find out who is thinking what in the forums in my opinion. Ask simple questions and expect simple answers or give simple answers to simple questions and period. You are dead lying bro that I am a thick skull; you are. Most Gambians are not like in childhood when they come from school rushing not to miss that Landrover at the junction with the loudspeaker. Well done those days but Gambia is just got to move ahead. Gambia’s predicament shouldn’t wait for any political formulas to hatch for it. Thanks however for your scribblings that can give us a clue who the snitch is. You haven’t seen so and so for a long time. Lo! to enable killers of my brethren of the country……….?

    • Of course, excerpts expose liars…They are a great tool for “uncle” Bax to complete the parental duty that others woefully failed to carry out.

      • The ones you paste only helps to expose your dodginess. ‘The parental duty……what? come @Bax….., even the younger generations know the ones who represent them in undertaking duties like that.
        Thanks atleast for helping making the debates a good stage for the younger generations to learn to adapt to democratic values.

  12. Bax , I think you are rambling as everybody notice here . In the USA which is the greatest democracy as far as I know , we still have tribes and their languages . Example The Native Americans have different tribes and languages but still those tribes and their languages are respected and are part of their cultural heritage and everyday life. Native Americans having these tribes and their languages do not prevent them from speaking English language which is the common language in USA . Native Americans have schools and colleges where they teach some of the tribal languages so that they can be preserved for next generations. So your idea that tribe shouldn’t be public space but personal is absurd. I have visited a friend who was a teacher in one of those colleges and the college is mainly for native Americans students . In many of these natives land , they have their own schools and colleges with curriculum designed to meet their Cultural identity and preservation . You must remember that native Americans are the founders or original settlers of USA before white European , exported black Americans through slavery and other ethinicities which makes the USA the melting pot of the world . I think you are infact being hypocritical here because you as a Muslim , you must believe in Allah’s creation when He mentioned the creation of human being into tribes and languages to enrich our diversity and to show his power. This is just a reminder but as you know I do not like to talk about religion into our politics .
    Tribes is who we are as people , so just like ethinicity or race . We must not used tribes, religion , race or ethinicity as a tool for division or spreading hatred. The idea of having a common language is a great thing because it helps to ease communication among people and national cohesion but we must appreciate ourselves by recognizing and respecting our tribes and their languages. We must formulate policy in our education system which help young people to have better understanding of ourselves through preservation of our tribal languages and use those tribal Languages in our national development .
    Bax , we can do anything if we put our minds on it ,therefore the idea that none of our tribal languages can meet the challenges of advanced science and technology is only not coming from lazy mindset but it also indicate that we refuse to use our brains to think about things we termed as ” impossible things “. So we must use our brains to advance ourselves including our tribal languages. Here in USA and when I was in The Gambia , one of the things I dislike about some Gambians is their belief of embracing other people’s culture , country , languages at the expense of who they are . Example when I see some Gambians not only love Jamaican music but some of them also put on Jamaican national flag to express themselves while they refused to give the same love to our country or at least sell the image of our country . I see such as pure ignorance and lack of love for one self and I think such people are confused about who they are . I have no problem of individuals choice about loving music from another country but I think it is ignorance to put on national flag of another country to express yourself . The point is we must respect ourselves , love ourselves and know that we are also bless with special talents which we needs to explore .

    • Max..

      I think you are pointing your gun in the wrong direction. Let me remind you that this whole debate erupted when some people expressed the view that we should get rid of tribe from our language because it is demeaning.

      My initial response, which you could check, was that I understand why people may have reservations on tribe, but that I feel that tribal identity should not be a problem, if we understand that our National Identity is superior to our tribal identity.

      I argued that whilst the word “tribe” may have a demeaning and negative connotation to some users, it does not have the same meaning for us, and thus, we should understand it from that perspective.

      I opined that we should spare no efforts to create a consciousness in our national psyche that recognises the superiority of our National Identity over all else, and that one way we may achieve this, is through the development and use of a National Language.

      Now, you seem to be promoting tribal identity, by narrating the American experience, but pointing your gun at me, at the same time. Shouldn’t you be pointing your gun to the “other side”, which says “No” to tribe ?

      I think the American Indians, despite all the segregation and discrimination against them, still view themselves as Americans first, and Indians afterwards.

      Max, confining tribe to the private space does not mean that it is not cherished or valued. Haven’t you seen where I made it clear that being proud about who you are, what you are, where you come from should not be a problem, if you don’t see that as more important than everything else..?

      Haven’t you seen where I made it clear that the cultures of our various tribes should be given a place in the public space to be expressed and to flourish…?

      Come on man, point your gun in the other direction because it is they who are opposed to using tribe, not me…

      What I meant by saying that tribe should not be brought into the public space is that the execution of a public service or duty, should neither be determined, nor influenced by tribe or tribal considerations.

      For example, at your personal private level, you can decide to marry a Wollof or Serahule woman, because you are a Wollof man or Serahule man, or just fancies them (and that should be nobody’s business), but you cannot employ a Wollof woman or Serahule woman, as a personal secretary, in a Public or Private sector work place because you are a Wollof or Serahule man. That should be everybody’s concern where we suspect it is happening.

      Would you agree or disagree with this view…?

      • Bax , i am sorry if I missed your earlier points . I take personal responsibility for my mistake but I will also encourage you to start doing the same thing rather than arguing with yourself in most cases . That said , I agree with you on some of your points especially that we shouldn’t use tribes as a means for creating problems in the form of promoting tribal preferential treatment in public space as currently happening in our country . I do not agree with you when you implied that we do not need tribe in our public space but I agree with your last example and explanation with regards to that . I do not agree with you when you stated that our tribal languages cannot meet the challenges of advanced science and technology . As I said , we must use our brains to meet the challenges of science and technology and to advance ourselves using our tribal languages.
        I also agree with you that we must make conscious efforts to create national identity through development of national language but we must work hard to preserve our tribes and tribal languages using our education system in the form of development of curriculum which will recognize and encourage our tribes and their languages . So there is great deal of agreement this time and few disagreement . I hope when it comes to politics especially pdois and udp you must try to agree with me . Lol .,

  13. Lang…

    I shouldn’t be saying much now, due to your findings, as per the research you came across, which vindicates my view on the need for developing a National Language, but I will not do justice, at least to myself, if I don’t respond to some of the points you raised..I will do so through a quote/response approach.


    1…”The use of one national language has absolutely nothing to do with what words we use to describe our selves; ”

    Response: I think you are absolutely wrong because the words a people use to describe themselves, is not only connected to their language (National or not), it is entirely dependent on it too. If we were to develop a National Language, then how we describe ourselves, over time, will be entirely connected and dependent on this language.

    Otherwise, where would the words come from if they are not connected to the language we speak, if I may ask…?

    2…”accept whatever words are used on us.”

    Response: Well, I don’t quite know what you mean here, but I hope you are not alleging that my view is to, “accept whatever words are used on us”, because that would be a ridiculous allegation indeed.

    3…” In fact I want to point out to you that in the UK there are several national languages contrary to what you are saying.”

    Response : I am aware of the existence of different National Languages in the UK, and even nursery going children would know this fact. I honestly don’t expect this type of approach to the discussion.

    The point I was making was that each present day European country, the UK included, was inhabited by peoples onced described as tribes, who were most likely speaking their own languages, before they became modern nations, speaking one national language, like English, French, German, etc.

    National Language, of course (in this context), referring to the language of the whole country; not languages of nations, regions or communities within each country.

    4…”One example is in Wales where you have Welsh and English.”

    Response : Well, you are not wrong, technically, to describe English as a National Language of Wales, by virtue of the fact that it is also spoken there, but I would think the appropriate status of the two, from the perspective of the Welsh Nation would be :

    English is an official language, whilst Welsh is both official and national. Hence, I would say that Wales has one National language (Welsh) and two official languages (Welsh & English).

    It is pretty much the same with the other aspects of the Welsh Nation, like its National Flag with the dragons, its National Capital of Cardiff City and even its own National Anthem.

    As a nation within the United Kingdom, Wales can also claim ownership to London, the Union Jack and God Save the Queen/King, just as the English Language, but won’t it be absurd, even if technically correct, for anyone to make the claim that Wales has two National capitals (London & Cardiff) or two National Flags (the Union Jack & the Red Dragon)…? It certainly would appear so to me…And that is exactly what you have done by claiming that Wales has two national languages.

    5…”But we have now past that stage where any West African country can choose one of its local languages as the national language.”

    Response : I think you have completely misunderstood my view on a National Language and this is because you have assumed that I was advocating for the adoption of one local language as our National Language.

    I always stress that in discussions like this, it is important to always seek clarification if you don’t quite understand what a person is saying, rather than just jumping in and firing shots.

    I have NEVER stated anywhere that we should adopt one local language as a National Language, but rather, I talked about DEVELOPING (there’s a difference between developing a language and adopting a language) a National Language that meets the challenges of living in this age of advanced Science and technology.

    6…”. For example, the reason Rwanda did not choose one of its local languages instead of changing from French to English speaks volumes.”

    Response: What does it really mean whether Rwanda chose it’s own language or changes from French to English…? It does indeed speak volumes, but probably not for the same reasons you may think.

    As far as I am concerned, all it means is that Rwanda lacks the political leadership and political will to take that bold decision or step needed to lay the foundations for sustainable development of the Rwandan Nation..

    And that is pretty much the same story for the rest of continent, where the will to even tap into, and develop the solar energy sector, which will constitute the cheapest, surest and cleanest route to energy self sufficiency for the continent, with our year round supply of abundant solar energy, is virtually nonexistent, close to 100 years after self governments..

    Congratulations though, are in order to the Republic of South Africa, where George Airport has just become the first entity in the whole continent, to be run entirely on solar energy. It just beggars belief that Africa is still unable to tap into an abundant clean energy source, whilst we are completely decapitated by chronic energy problems.

    Rwanda…! Please, tell me someone else..Not that fxxx.king criminal and murderer, Paul Kagami…

    • Bax

      I do not think one should continue this debate with you as you are definitely rambling and from your comments it is obvious that you lack in-depth and critical understanding of issues. I totally accept Morro’s position on this. We should stop writing articles and making comments about things and issues that will stir ethnic tensions and divisions. As at now we should come up with policies that will introduce languages that are spoken by considerable few into schools so that they do not become extinct rather than abandoning them or choosing one language as a national language against the other. Which one do we choose? What would be the reaction of others? What criteria are we going to put in place? What are the economic implications vis a vis other social and political outcomes……?

      I do not know whether is the same Morro I know of (or is just a pseudonym – a fictitious name) but if it is the same person he is a very highly respected academic researcher in the UK working for a top UK institution. Am sure he will not make such comments without a reason and without thoroughly researching it prior.

      • Well, I may lack in-depth knowledge of issues, but you know what..? I don’t envy yours at all, and yes, we should discontinue this discussion because you’re being rediculous and completely irrational…

        One minute, you’re questioning the criteria to put in place to choose one language over the other, as if that is what I am saying, and the next minute, you’re proposing that we should formulate policies to introduce marginally spoken languages into schools…

        I know half a dozen that are spoken by very few people : Njago, Mankange, Balangta, Mansuanka, Karoninka & Aku..

        Which one will you introduce in schools or are you planning to have them all..? Rediculous…

        “Writing to stir ethnic tensions” ? What’s that got to do with developing a National Language..? Who’s relating the unrelated now.?

        “See you later, mate..”

  14. @Max : “……therefore the idea that none of our tribal languages can meet the challenges of advanced science and technology is only not coming from lazy mindset but it also indicate that we refuse to use our brains to think about things we termed as ” impossible things “.

    Max, Max, Max….! Isn’t this yet another indication that you are pointing your gun in the wrong direction..? It is Lang who stated that we have gone past the stage where we can use our local languages in West Africa, as National Languages.

    For my part, I believe and have argued, that we can develop a National Language that can meet the challenges of this scientific age, but none of our local languages, in their current forms, can live up to this challenge. We need to develop our chosen language further, if we want to achieve this goal.

    I remember the student magazine at SAHS was called “Sunukibaaro” and that word, though simple, is innovative because it uses a Wollof (“Sunu”: our) and a Mandinka (“Kibaaro”: news) word to create a new word (Sunukibaaro: our news) that became part of the student vocabulary of the school for years. I’m not sure whether it still exists, but that is an example of how we can develop a National Language.

    We can do it and do it successfully, and those who say we can’t, are not only lazy but are still afflicted with that triple age old malaise of : mental slavery, colonialism and self doubt, due to their inferiority complex..

  15. Max, Ggapm, Lang and others

    I have been following your comments. They are educating. This is my first time to comment here so you can understand why. Please remember that a rambler will always have something to ramble about no matter what. So you are wasting your time as you will never convince ramblers.

    A prominent Professor told me that there is an inverse relationship between pomposity and performance; that if one wants a quality job to be done, never even think of a pompous person. That is what PDOIS and its likes are.

    • Thanks @KJM for your deep insight into the trend of comments. This is the kind of profound observation the Doy crew would refer to as,’AD HOMINEM’.
      Such reactions in response to genuine viewpoints and opinions is why some of us can’t help but empower then in their ramblings. It did bore me but at the same time I felt it is right to say something to them rather than let them stray worst.
      Please be urged @KJM to have the patience to engage the Doy crew however enduring it is. They say, ‘when there is life there is hope’ I am optimistic that they will see the light.

  16. My name always shows in dark bold! What happen to it here? I am not well versed with PCs so I get uneasy with them. What’s up KJM? I don’t mind much now I can hold a different political view from my siblings.

    • You are right, it should be bold characters. Presumably it is something to do with Kairo’s system. Keep it up in any case and as always continue to be objective regardless whoever is involved/concerned!