I don’t want to weigh in this tribal stuff that has been going around since the election campaign, but there are articles written by people claiming the coalition government cabinet pick is not diverse and that it is based on tribal line. One thing that is appalling is that these people are looking at diversity from a very narrow perspective.
First of all, let’s understand that the first batch of ministerial appointments are based on party line, with the UDP taking 3 (Ousainou Darboe, Amadou Sanneh and Lamin N. Dibba), PPP 2 (OJ Jallow and James Gomez), NRP 1 (Hmat Bah), NCP 1 (Lamin N. Dibba, GMC 1 (Mai Fatty), GPDP 1 (Henry Gomez), independent candidate 1 (Isatou Touray) and civil society 1 (Fatoumatta Tambajang). These people were nominated by their parties in accordance with the Coalition Memorandum of Understanding. In all senses politically this cabinet so far is diverse.
Secondly, let’s put the ethnicity numbers behind the cabinet pick. There are so far 5 Mandinkas, 3 Fulas, 2 Manjagos and 1 Bambara (Dr. Isatou Jarra Touray father Sunkaru Jarra from Kaur). This means out of 11 cabinet picks 45% are Mandinka, 27% fula, 18% manjago and 9% Bambara. It is therefore fair to say considering the population of Mandinkas and Fulas so far there is diversity. One needs to also put into consideration that Wolofs generally are not directly involved in party politics and since this appointments are based on nominations from political parties there was 0% Wolof.
However, the Wolof would have been represented had Halifa had accepted a cabinet position. The appointment of Ba Tambedou as Minister for Justice gives Sarahules representation.
Thirdly, since the appointments are based on political party nomination, let’s look at the party leaders ethnicity. Out of 8 parties in the coalition, 3 of the party leaders are mandikas (UDP, NCP and GMC), 3 are fulas (PPP, NRP and CIVIL SOCIETY), 1 Manjago (GPDP), and 1 Bambara (independent). Again this could explain the composition of the cabinet pick.
I think we should at this material point in time concern ourselves with whether the appointees are really up to task or whether they deserve to be appointed. In my opinion all of them deserve to be appointed. The only appointment I am critical of is that of Madam Fatoumata Tambajang. This is based on her constitutional age limit qualification.
Country men and women, let’s move forward with the New Gambia and put this dirty tribal stuff behind us. If other countries can do it we too can.