What We Have in Common as Gambians Should Unite Us. We Should Discourage Tribalism & Tribal Politics:
By Emmanuel Daniel Joof (Paps)
The recent exchanges by Gambians on the online media is very troubling. Many Gambians on social media have been participating in pure and raw “tribalistic” exchanges and accusation of the Coalition government as being “tribalistic” in its selection of individuals to government positions, especially appointment of cabinet ministers and other positions. When one looks at these appointments however, the facts discredit these accusations and allegations as unfounded and perhaps based on pure perceived historical biases, prejudice and anxiety of tribal domination – no doubt some of these perceived biases are possibly historical and perhaps even based on past experiences of those making the allegations.
I am not saying that we do not have bigots in the Gambia who believe that their respective tribes are the best, finest and even supreme and therefore decreed to rule and be appointed to top government jobs. These individual bigots exist and can be found among all the tribes in the Gambia. For example, there are perhaps some Mandinkas who believe that because they are the majority tribe, they should be the rulers and that everyone should be able to speak their language etc.; likewise there are probably some “Banjul Wollofs” who may nurse ideas that they are more sophisticated and urbane than “the others” and are therefore better rulers and deserving of top jobs; similarly perhaps some Fulas may even believe that as the second largest majority tribe it is their time to rule and control the affairs of state etc. Others belonging to other tribes may also have similar demented egoistical tribal notions.
Many among us undoubtedly have our own prejudices, biases, fears and anxieties about “the others” but as a small nation where all the tribes are today interconnected through marriages and other social bonds, we should try to remove our negative attitudes towards each other based only on tribe, religion and or gender. The causes of conflicts in many African countries today are driven by tribal and religious sentiments, with one group trying to exclude the others because they believe they have the God-given right to do so because of tribe and or religion.
Gambians should strive for a society devoid of tribalism and religious bigotry. We should embrace our diversity, encourage and celebrate our achievements and that of others and reward people for their achievements regardless of their tribe, religion or gender. Finally, we should engage in open and frank dialogue and in a positive manner.