The Gambia is generally known as the most peaceful nation in Africa, the Smiling Coast and Africa’s gateway. Gambians are well respected because of their hospitality. All the tribes respect and accommodate each other and, the people propagate peace and religious tolerance.
Gambians are trustworthy, committed to each other, and pious. Religious faith has never been a problem because there is mutual understanding and respect. The nation’s Peace, Stability, Unity, Harmony, Love and togetherness cannot be emphasised.
But we have to address tribalism which is slowly creeping in due to political apathies and unnoticed tribal sentiments. The Gambia was founded on peaceful principles and our forefathers left the legacies of peace, harmony, and togetherness without introducing tribalism.
“For the Gambia our Homeland,
We Strive and Work and Pray, that all may Live in Unity,
Freedom and Peace each day.
Let Justice Guide our Actions, Towards the Common Good,
And join our diverse Peoples, to prove man’s Brotherhood
We pledge our Firm Allegiance, Our Promise we Renew,
Keep us Great God of Nations, To the Gambia ever True.”
The Gambia is our homeland including all the tribes irrespective of religious belief. All Gambians should strive, work and join hands to pray and build the success of the nation that all may live in unity, peace each day because in the absence of peace, division, trouble and war looms. Justice must guide our actions towards the common good and join our diverse peoples, meaning all tribes and all political parties must prove man’s brotherhood, pledge their firm commitment to The Gambia, and strive to keep the promise and renew the same day by day.
As a people, the way we live and protect ourselves will play important part in God’s blessings to the nation. Our legacies also affect the future of the nation. God hates tribalism, it destroys, separate and divide nations. The Gambia is gradually accepting and allowing political tribalism because of political divide and rule syndrome.
Before in Foni, it is not easy to identify who is a Jola, Mandinka, Fula and so forth. But presently, you can identify them by their actions. When you talk of Brikama, Sukuta, and Bakau, you easily identify the tribe populating these arrears because tribalism of ownership is graduating secretly.
His Excellency the late Sir Dawda Jawara, Rev JC Fye and other peace-loving elders, did not identify who is Wolof, Serere, Fula, Mandinka, Jola, Sarahule, Karoninka, or Aku. They left the nation in unity, peace, love and harmony.
Now what went wrong, our politicians, the tribes or the people? Political interest is gradually ending the founders’ principles of peace and unity which they built with heavy prizes.
Tribalism of jealousy and hatred nearly destroyed Rwanda; it set the nation alight and backward, war of words, hatred, political interest, and jealousy, gradually peeped into that former most peaceful nation. Infighting started and more than one million people lost their lives in the same nation that supposed to protect themselves from foreign invasion.
Rwandans killed themselves but blamed foreign influences and tribes decimated other tribes. The nation was burning yet citizens did not identify that the devil was in control.
Same in Nigeria, tribal hatred, jealousy, religious intolerance including tribal ownership divided Nigeria and killing of other tribes and ethnic cleansing, who controls the nation’s resources is the order of the day. Tribal ownership and politics is dangerous. Gradually, Nigerian – Biafran war started in 1967 and ended in 1970 with more than three-and- a-half million people died, yet Nigeria is still playing same tribal politics.
In the Western world there is peace, their people enjoy the nation’s wealth and resources with good governance without African leaders interfering in their leadership. In the Western nations it is America first, Europe first, Chinese, and British first. What is Africa’s problem? It is tribal and political indifferences. Simple question; is Africa the mother of tribalism and why is tribalism in their DNA?
In African politics, we use tribal politics to gain power, empowering tribes against others, and killing to gain control and to remain in power at the expense of lives. Tribalism is leading the way in Christian worship. In Nigerian churches, Ministers of God preach against tribalism yet there are tribal sentiments, Yorubas don’t attend Igbo churches yet they pray to God and need Igbos to establish their churches and later use accusations to sack the Igbos. Where have Africans gone wrong? May God Almighty help us.
I therefore encourage Gambians to remain focussed, continue their love towards one another despite religious beliefs, and tribes. The Gambia is one country, Gambians are one people. Home is home, ours remain ours, and we must continue to see each other as one and not to allow foreign interferences.
Gambians should not allow tribal sentiment and politics to divide the most African peaceful nation. We are one and should remain one, today, and in future. We should not allow our politicians who are only there for their personal and family interest to divide us.
The founders of the nation did not name The Gambia a Mandinka, Jola, Fula, Wolof or Sarahule nation. May God continue to bless the one Gambia as we maintain the one nation in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
Bishop Dohn Augustyn Bernards
Chairman of Pastors Intercessory Fellowship International