(JollofNews) – Let us begin this editorial by stating that we hate discussing tribal matters as a topic. But when things are getting out of hand those who have access and means to be heard must speak up.
Leadership is not easy because it can inspire people to love one another and on the converse side, it can inspire people to hate each other.
Therefore, it is with a strong feeling that we condemn the latest misguided utterances of President Yahya Jammeh, dealing with tribal matters. To put it bluntly, Yahya Jammeh is too dangerous for the harmonious existence of the people of the Gambia.
For the sake of power, the man is mixing up people to hate one another by planting the seed of hatred from the pulpit of government. Come to face it, Mr Jammeh either harbours a deep-seated paranoia or hatred for the Mandingoes. He simply cannot accept the fact that Mandingoes constitute the single largest tribe in the Gambia, which should have nothing to do with anyone but God.
Whether they are born in Planet Pluto and migrated via Mars to settle in the Gambia, the fact remains they are in the Gambia now as citizens with all rights just like any other Gambian. As such, every gathering or group, good or bad in the Gambia that is not selected on tribal line will naturally have more Mandinkas than any other tribe. Example there are more Mandinka supporters of Mr Jammeh’s own ruling APRC party than any other tribe. In the same vein, there will be more Mandinkas in the opposition parties than any other tribe.
However, what is important is that no one should be judged by what language he or she speaks but what is his or her character. If a people support or oppose a person because of his tribe in politics that is ignorance and they must be thought by honest politicians how to base their political inclinations of policies and programmes.
Yes, it very common in Africa where political education is low for people to mobilise themselves in support of a leader because he or she comes from their tribe, region or background. But it is the duty of honest political leaders to refrain from fanning that ignorance. Instead they should take practical steps to discredit such tendencies by embracing all tribes. People are born accidentally to become the ethnic group they are.
So one is baffled why President Jammeh is not comfortable with this natural fact and what is prompting him to indulge in politics of self-destruction by going round the country and insulting whole communities.
It is our belief that with these utterance even Mr Jammeh’s biggest admirers would disagree with him. Tribal, racial and religious matters are sensitive and dangerous to play with by a leader. Unfortunately, Mr Jammeh has been taking these two sensitive things with little care.
The people of the Gambia have been known to be one and the same. Profiling them by their ethnicity is dangerous especially if it is done by a political leader and president for that matter, who swore by the holy book of Allah to govern them without any ill will.
Mr President, please take a lesson from history and concentrate on developing the country and ignore temptations to become a disaster of history such as the Idi Amins, Samuel Does and Bokassas.
Power must not drive you to ignite hatred against a very large section of your people. You are continuously embarrassing even your biggest supporters by insulting their tribe at every occasion and opportunity.
We at JollofNews belief that you don’t need this unnecessary negative publicity. The Gambia deserves better. So please, find some good advisers not sycophants, and learn from them how to address issues as a leader. As the Mandinkas themselves say, some words may be near the mouth but they are not sayable……CHANGE now Mr President. CHANGE for the better.