Speaking on behalf of President Jammeh in Jarra Soma at the official opening of the conference of chiefs over the weekend, Sabally who is also the Minister of Presidential Affairs, said: “With the ongoing onslaught of alien cultural values, supported and promoted by amoral global powers with the support of their media, we the God-worshipping people of this country need to reinforce and further strengthen our protective barriers around our sacred religious and cultural values. Our zero tolerance towards homosexuality, drug abuse and other crimes remains strong and will in fact be further strengthened. We will never allow the sanctity of this country and its people to be violated and corrupted. Those who want to be friends or partners of The Gambia must respect our traditional and cultural values and we as a dignified independent people shall never give in because of petty foreign aid or the threat of smear campaign. We must jealously guard and protect those tools and vehicles that have been used by our ancestors and protect our tradition. No matter what, we should cherish and preserve our circumcision rights, our marriages, our story-telling, our cultural shows, our traditional wrestling, our communal farming and other practices.” 

Mr Sabally indicated that the conference was in line with efforts to strengthen national unity and consolidate genuine democratic governance. He said it was a dimension of President Jammeh’s commitment to ruling by the consent of the people, to create and reorganise institutions that better represent their interest. 

“We may observe and interact with other cultures but what we have is what we know and this we must keep. Our culture has the right mechanisms for conflict resolution and this was used throughout the generations in the maintenance of peace and stability. We have our modern legal system which we must continue to use but the traditional ways of conflict resolution should also be used and preserved. President Jammeh has demonstrated his dedication to creating a more inclusive society in which every citizen regardless of gender, tribe or any other consideration is a proud and committed stakeholder in our process of nation-building. That is why he gives support to our national council of chiefs and continues to empower them in the design and implementation of national policies and programmes. Therefore, it’s our collective duty to continue to support the president’s patriotic vision with dedication, diligence and persistence.”