Paramount chief speaks ahead of Soma ‘Mansa Bengo’


In an exclusive interview with The Standard, he explained: “This event is historic because the national council of chiefs under my stewardship will meet in Soma this weekend to discuss issues that are pertinent to our development. We can promote peace through culture and since the advent of the second republic, the country has enjoyed greater peace which has made it possible for government to deliver on its development promises. The conference is all about discussing burning issues that affect the country. We need to celebrate our culture as Gambians because it’s a tool for identification and the role of traditional chiefs is to promote that culture. We are also entrusted to safeguard the interest of the country, build peace and work with young people on issues that affect them. We place a lot of emphasis on them because they are the cream of society and the muscle upon which our development depends.”

Demba Sanyang, the first paramount chief of The Gambia further stated that there is need to encourage young people into meaningful activities like farming in order to make the country move forward. He said ‘back to the land’ underpinning the philosophy of ‘eat what we grow and grow what you eat’ campaign is initiated by government to achieve food security.

 “We are going to use the conference to enlighten Gambians on Vision 2016 for rice self-sufficiency. It’s our responsibility as chiefs to reach out to the grassroots and sensitise them on food security. This is a very good venture in our national development effort and we have a great leader in President Jammeh who has a lot of vision for this country. This is a government that has worked in the best interest of Gambians and I’m happy that young people are becoming more attentive. Anywhere in the world, farmers are the richest and so encouraging our youth to engage in farming and other activities such as fishing will deliver good results for the nation. 


“The president’s support towards local chiefs is huge because of his belief in culture and tradition and this time round, we expect him to officially grace the occasion. He changed the staff the chiefs hold to something representing our identity from ‘God Save the Queen’ which was the initial staff being used by local chiefs. The National Council of Seyfolu meets twice every year to discuss issues that are mutually beneficial for the country and this time it will take place in Jarra Soma, Lower River Region. I would like to extend gratitude to the entire Gambians institutions and especially my own council of elders who are always supportive in our administrative duties.”


By Lamin Njie