Editorial: Gambia’s President Dangerously fanning the flames of Tribalism; threatens to wipe out the largest ethnic group

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In a 22 minutes recorded speech at a political rally at some unidentified location, the Gambian president Yahya Jammeh takes a dangerous attack on the largest ethnic group in the Gambia. Jammeh made open threats to “kill mandinka’s like ants”. He threatened that anybody who demonstrates he will not call the police who “beats people to death but will call the military to wipe-out citizens”.

Jammeh made false and discredited allegations that Mandinkas are saying that Gambia is their country. The only person in position of authority who has been heard as saying Gambia belongs to him is Yahya Jammeh. No opposition leader or person in any position of authority has ever uttered these words. Like his false premise of 400 years of British colonial rule, Yahya Jammeh is falsely using dangerous Rhetoric to fan the flames of tribalism and ethnic conflict.

Throughout the entire speech, Jammeh focused exclusively on the Mandinka ethnic group which consist of over 40% of the population and insulted them, defamed their history and threatened to kill them like no other. In his childish hallucination and unfounded allegations against ethnic groups Jammeh repeated stories and alleged claims by Mandinkas which cannot be substantiated with any evidence. President Jammeh is insanely obsessed with ethnic rhetoric taking a divisive road to create conflict between Gambians.

During his speech he said “98% of those saying bad things about Gambia, and 9,990 out of 10,000 Gambian youths deported from the backway are mandingos” He added that all those who demonstrated against his government are mandinkas “except for two Fulas”.. he also threatened the Fula ethnic group and said “Those fulas who are oppose to me welcome to hell”. Jammeh said many people from the Mandinka group “will not witness the upcoming elections” he added I won’t beat you but you will all die an unexplained death”. Jammeh was also overheard inciting hate between the Mandinka ethnic group and the second largest the Fulas. He said “those of you Fulas who have been part of APRC, Mandinkas were threatening you that if they take over the government they will send all of you to Guinea” This is a deliberate act from Jammeh to further incite hatred between these two groups.

But the reason Jammeh’s threats cannot be taken lightly is that the last time he swore he will kill prisoners, 9 prisoners were summarily executed in cold blood. The last time Jammeh threatened to bury Journalists six feet deep, veteran journalist Deyda Hydara was gunned down few yards from a police state. Chief Ebrima Manneh another Gambian journalist disappeared when state agents arrested him and his family still cannot find him. When he threatened to deal with Diaspora Gambians for daring to return home, two Gambian American citizens were kidnapped and for almost four years now they are nowhere to be found.

So when Jammeh threatens to kill Mandinkas one must wonder what will happen to leaders from this ethnic group who are currently in state custody one illegally detained and two others serving prison sentences for politically motivated cases. Yahya Jammeh current has three of the most important political leaders from the majority mandinka tribe serving in Jail; Mr. Ousainou Darboe leader of the UDP, Mr. Amadou Sanneh also UDP treasurer and Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara former member of the UDP and many other UDP leaders are all behind bars at the mercy of Yahya Jammeh and his government. So Jammeh’s threats must be taken seriously and treated with the utmost urgency. He is out to incite ethnic divide and fanning the flames of tribalism which is the most dangerous politics in Africa. The world still remembers Siera – Leone in the early 2000s, Liberia , Burundi and Rwanda all dissipated by trial violence. With elections looming in Gambia Jammeh is threatening an open assault on mandinkas.

The last we checked Yahya Jammeh is the one who has the majority cabinet secretaries from his Jola tribe. The last we checked all heads of security apparatus from Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defense Staff, Minister of Interior, the Director of the National Intelligence agency (NIA), the head of the presidential guards, the commander of all Army barracks across the country are all from Jammeh’s Jola tribe appointed by him. Common sense question is then who is playing tribal politics in Gambia? Who is appointing people base on not their qualifications but their tribal affiliation?

President Jammeh is the tribalist and the one playing the tribal card. Jammeh must not forget that he denied Fula’s the proper burial of one of its noble sons – the late Alhagie Bubacarr Baldeh who died in Senegal while in exile and Jammeh denied his dead body from being returned to Gambia. The fulas did not forget that few of their most promising sons were allegedly killed by the Jammeh regime; Sergeant Ello Jallow, Jai Jallow and NIA agent Boye Bah were all killed while serving the Jammeh regime. So if Jammeh think Gambians have forgotten these and are pitching one tribe over another, he is making a deadly mistake. Yahya Jammeh is unfit to be President of the Republic of the Gambia which consists of diverse ethnic groups. Jammeh must be held responsible for any ethnic tension and killing of innocent citizens in Gambia. His hate mongering and divide and conquer tactic has gone beyond anything one can comprehend. Jammeh is toxic to the Gambian people and if the world sit idly and watch him, he will unleash his most dangerous arsenals on innocent people. The man is mentally derailed and if not stopped he will render Gambia ungovernable and eventually a failed state.

Sound cloud audio to Jammeh’s hate speech:

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