Truth Behind New Cabinet Composition

By Karamo Sawaneh

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.



  1. sallah culturally is Fula not Wollof

  2. @ Mr. Sawaneh = After all we went through in the last 22 years of a repressive rule, we just want the present administration to be diverse and inclusive as it can be. I also agree that the Cabinet appointments should include members of all the coalition parties. Halifa Sallah has been so active and he has always been at the forefront of the coalition during the political impasse, I wonder why he did not accept a cabinet position? Did Halifa gave any reason?

    I also want to emphasize that I’m sure there are many qualified Wolofs and Jolas and individuals from other ethnic groups in The Gambia, who can be picked for Cabinet positions. This time, we just want a united and inclusive Gambia where all can contribute to national development free from any kind of discrimination. May GOD guide us to make the right decisions.

  3. Lafia Touray la Manju

    PPP should not have two ministers. I think they are being disproportionally represented in the cabinet. Not fair!!

    If UDP was given its rightful due, that is 4 ministerial positions, we would have had a Wollof minister by now. FACT!!

  4. The appointment of Madam Tambajang is constitutionally legal. Simple reason: the same constitution limiting age for president and vice president, also has a ANTI-DISCRIMINATION CLAUSE, which takes precedence over and overrules any law within or enacted into the constitution, that discriminate against citizens on the basis of religious beliefs, tribal belonging , health condition, AGE, gender e.t.c.

    In this case, those uncomfortable with the appointment, should take the issue to the constitutional court – once constituted – for binding interpretation.

    Beyond that, the age limit is discriminatory because it has a particular section of our society in mind, that posed a threat to the ousted regime. And such a statute is unworthy of a modern country and hardly any anywhere to be found -except in rogue states bent on disqualifying citizens with wisdom from holding office.

    • can’t agree more Mr kinteh well said my brother

    • So it is a FACT that she is over 65 as confirmed.

      If you trying to justify that her appointment i s constitutionally legal why Lawyer Ousainou Darbo already resigned to contest for The Presidency having been aware that he is legally debarred. He mentioned (or predicted) that 2016 would see a woman Presidential candidate for UDP before the tragic incidents of Solo Sandeng.

      Mrs. Fatoumata Tambajang is only one fit for VP. Why can’t she take up a ministrial position; especially where she served APRC (Ministry of Health and Social Services or another)?

  5. Bourne: Calm Down, Come up for Some Air least you Hyperventilate from Blind Rage.

    Hold on to your Horses or Donkeys! You are already judging the man guilty and sentenced all by yourself. How “informed” and “educated” a jurist you are? Another thing, insults and hyperbole only make you appear and infact, sound Not Credible and a bit Unhinged. Don’t Trip over yourself with Venum and Self-Rightiousness. That only adds to making you appear and infact, sound like a Zealot. Calm down, Like “The Wallers”, Said in a Raggae Rhythm, “Simmer Down, Control Your Temper, Simner Down, “Why don’t you, Why don’t you, Simmer Down…. Cause the Battle Will Be Harder”…

  6. Is this unimportant data going to stick on the national I.D. Any one who believes tribes are very important to them should mark it on their foreheads with hot iron. Failing to do so means the tribes concept is nothing but a deadly rat race in our society. This word ‘tribe’ shouldn’t mentioned talking of qualifications and self-integrity of people in the public offices.

    Thank @Karamo for your wonderful advice, and thanks @Kinteh for the heads up on the constitution. I have always been confident that no genuine constitution will become a dictating instrument and boobytrap for its people. Constitutions of democratic civil societies usually don’t say in them, ‘STOP!’ and period.

    • No politics of division and exclusion. We cannot afford to repeat the politics of the second republic——–period.

      • Halifa should say something as to why he is not appointed. We like them to be talking to the people for transparency sake so we don’t spread false rumour and info around. I think some government positions can be applied for by those qualified interested citizens irrespective of their ethnic background……Or should I ask; can the word ETHNIC be suffixed with BACKGROUND……

  7. I think if Mr Sallah did not want to take cabinet position as a minister, then Secretary General and head of civil services will be a good fit for him . Mr Sallah being a man who like to follow institutional process and procedures, he will be a great speaker at the National Assembly where he can help the coalition government to put in place democratic reforms which will help our democratization process and institutions of democracy for future generations. Having mr Sallah as a speaker at National Assembly will also help the coalition government to achieve its economic developments goals, constitutional reforms and other domestic policies. Strategically, this will help the country to build on democratic values and principles which were lost in the past 22 years . Gambians should think about the future rather than immediate political positions. Our collective vision should be about democratic Gambia where rule of law and good governance will be an envy of west Africa or Africa in general. National Assembly is an institution which can help the country and the new administration to lay the foundation of democratic institutions or build on already dilapidated democratic institutions. Therefore , we should shift our focus on the next parliamentary election so that coalition government can have enough National Assembly members who will advocate and formulate legislations that will advance our socioeconomic wellbeing as well as democratic constitutionalism. Since the speaker is the third most powerful person in the country as far as the constitution is concerned, the position of speakership will be an ideal choice for Mr Sallah . Mr Sallah’s personality and conduct March with the job description of speakership. His diplomatic approach as well as belief in institutional process and procedures can both serve our country well if we want to follow the constitution as living document which guide our daily lives. The only downside of Mr Sallah’s speakership position is whether he will be willing to accept ideas which are completely different from PDOIS political ideology. This is because, Mr Sallah has proven over the years to be very rigid in his political belief and strategy . Another issue of concern is his personal desire to be in control of whatever is happening. As a speaker of National Assembly, Mr Sallah should learn to be flexible and listen to members of National Assembly so that we have vibrant democratic debate for legislative agendas . This is the political culture Gambian people need so that even at the family level , citizens can be used to having political debate on our national issues . Mr Sallah should be given this chance to lead our country to build on democratic culture so that we can lay the foundations for future generations.

    • You should stop your resentment, false allegations, malicious slander and smearing campaign against Halifa Sallah.

      Stop being arrogant, a charlatan bigot and please leave Halifa Sallah alone.

      • Why didn’t you address the fraudulent appointment of Mrs Fatoumata Tambajang being touted unofficially as VP and everyone is mute about it; including Lawyer Ousainou Darbo, Ahmad Mai Fatty; among others disingenuously promoting nepotism, favouritism, kinship and back-door deals.

        1. She is already exposed t be over 65 specified in The Constitution of Republic of The Gambia.

        2. Not yet officially announced as appointed or given an appointment letter.

        3. Also yet to take oath of office because it cannot be valid or justify constitutionally under The Gambia Constitution.


        That is the BIG ISSUE (i.e dodgy or dishonesty, a bad precedent……..and a lot of??????)