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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Let’s address the elephant in the room

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By Musa Bah

Over the past one or two years, there has been a lot of tribal talk in the country. People have been castigated solely based on the language they speak or where they come from. People assign – wrongly I might add – tribal reasons for almost anything that happens in the country. This is not healthy and is dangerous.
Many are in denial that there is no tribal problem in The Gambia. Those in this camp claim that the tribal talk is only on social media which constitutes a very small minority of the population. While that may be true, they seem to forget that those on social media are part of society and their views – most of the time – epitomise the views of society.

In the streets, the markets, in the comfort of homes, we hear people talk about tribes in ways that do not augur well for the peace and tranquility of the nation.
Yesterday afternoon, while I was discussing with a friend, two women sitting by were engaged in a discussion about the cabinet reshuffle. One of them said that thank God that now all the Fulas are out of government.
After seeking their permission to join their conversation, I pointed out to them that it was not true that all Fulas are out of government as we still have the Minister of Tourism being a Fula and that there are many other high government offices occupied by Fulas.

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I told them that what mattered is who is competent to run a particular office, that we should not view government appointments with tribal lenses. We should only ask whether someone is competent and qualified to occupy a particular office. This is what will take us forward. They agreed with me and left.
Now, it is clear that many people in this country consider the tribal angle in many things that happen.
This is dangerous and should be nipped in the bud. I know that you, Mr President, are very conscious of this problem.

We have seen you go to lengths to avoid being drawn into stating which tribe you belong to; or, giving any importance to the issue of tribe. I urge you and all other politicians to speak out against any form of tribal, regional or sectional divide in the country. We are one people and should show it in not only our words but our actions as well.
We, as a nation, should launch a campaign against any form of internal division based on ethnicity, regionalism, religious or any form. We should promote One Gambia, One Nation and One Destiny.
Have a good day Mr President.

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