By Omar Bah
Mamma Kandeh, leader of Gambia Democratic Congress, has accused Barrow’s National People’s Party of fomenting hatred between Fulas and Mandinkas.
Kandeh was reacting to calls by NPP deputy national president Demba Sabally that Fulas should not vote for the UDP candidate in December presidential election. Dr Sabally was the national president of Mr Kandeh’s party before decamping to President Barrow’s NPP.
In a viral WhatsApp audio, Dr Sabally stated: “If the Fulas vote for Mamma Kandeh they will be helping the UDP and if they vote for UDP they will equally be helping the UDP but if they want to avoid a UDP government they should vote for President Barrow.”
Kandeh said Dr Sabally’s comments were parochial and could cause political strife between Mandinkas and Fulas, the two most populous ethnic groupings in the country. Both Kandeh and Sabally are Fulas.
“We [Fulas] should ask the NPP why they are not telling other tribes like the Jolas and Wolof to vote for President Barrow. They are doing all this just to divide us and as well create suspicion between us and the Mandinkas. Don’t allow them to divide you. We are all from Adam and Eve and they were neither Mandinka nor Fula. Tribes are subsets of humanity and were created to ease communication and nothing else,” Kandeh said.
“Voting for NPP in December is equal to taking a knife to cut your neck off. You will not say I didn’t warn you,” he warned.
Kandeh said the Fulas should be “very careful because they [NPP] have started sharing audios giving the impression that Fulas are denied from being registered when no body can deny any eligible Gambian from obtaining a voter’s card”.
“Those who are trying to discriminate between tribes want to destroy this country. We are all equal in this country and no one can stop anyone from enjoying his or her democratic rights,” he said.
Kandeh urged his fellow politicians to be mindful in their messaging as the country prepares for what could be a hard fought presidential election in December.
“I urge all genuine party leaders and supporters to be very careful about doing or saying anything that could generate unrest in this country because this year’s election will be completely different from previous elections and there will be some parties that will do everything to win. For some of us who are conscious about the potential consequences, we will need to be vigilant,” Kandeh said.
He criticised the Barrow administration for “doing very little to change the livelihoods of Gambians” since coming to power.
“The Gambia of today is in a sorry state with a tormenting level of poverty and public dissatisfaction running high. It is time we ask ourselves whether Barrow had made any difference to lives since coming to power in 2017. Have we seen a change in our hospitals and livelihoods? These are important questions we should ask ourselves before December so that we would be able to make the right choices,” he chastised.