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.




Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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