Tribal Bigotry in the Gambia: It’s meaning & What No One Is Talking About

In case you are looking for a deeper definition and understanding of Tribal Bigotry, this article is for you. It is a sad reality but There’s been a wave of tribal bigotry in the New Gambia. Political demagogues within the Gambia and other African nations have used Tribal Bigoty to resurrect historical feuds. Just like other African countries, the president is usually the chief bigot.

Tribal Bigotry is defined as intolerance towards people from a different tribe or social group. This meaning is different and shouldn’t be confused with Tribalism.

In this article, I will share my view on what Tribal Bigotry is with examples from leaders. I will also explain why it has no place in The Gambia.

I think deep inside, most of the bigots are probably ignorant people suffering from low self-esteem and they seriously need help.

I think deep inside, most of the bigots are probably ignorant people suffering from low self-esteem and they seriously need help. #FatumasVoiceForum Click To Tweet

Tribal Bigotry: Banjul King Fahad Mosque - Banjul with King Fahad Mosque in center (King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (not this one), was the King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005).

Tribalism is the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribal or social group. Tribal bigotry is heightened chauvinistic prejudice and can develop from the effects of Tribalism.

An Example of Tribal Bigotry: disliking people because of cultural or traditional beliefs. An Example in a sentence: All South Africans are better than other Africans. Another word for a bigot is dogmatist, partisan, sectarian, prejudiced person.

As always, intolerant devotion to personal opinion to the detriment of others doesn’t last long. In spite of this, we can not ignore the wounds it leaves behind.

There are so many simple ways we can celebrate our own. Like in this tweet by Adebayo Okeowo:

I am not Gambian but I had a smile on my face seeing a street named after here in the UK. I know that in Abuja, there are also streets named after African countries. More like: ‘we recognize you’. And hopefully, such recognition can also foster mutual respect…

I'm not Gambian but I had a smile on my face seeing a street named after #Gambia in the UK. I know there are also streets in Abuja named after African countries... Hopefully, such recognition can foster mutual respect. ~ @AdebayOkeowo Click To Tweet

The History of Tribal Bigotry and why it has no place in The Gambia

It’s human to agree or disagree on any issue and most importantly politics. On the other hand, when leaders play the tribal bigotry cards to score votes then that’s bigotry. It MUST be condemned, named and shamed by every genuine Gambian and African at large.

I still believe that the Gambia will flourish. I am Gambian and #WeAreOne. My Gambianess is not attached to a tribe, religion, political affiliation, class or status. It is rather the reality of the oneness which we sing through our national anthem:

“For The Gambia our homeland
We strive and work and pray
That all may live in unity
To The Gambia ever true”

For The Gambia our homeland We strive and work and pray That all may live in unity To The Gambia ever true - Gambia National Anthem: For The Gambia, Our Homeland. with music, vocals and lyrics in English Click To Tweet

Gambia National Anthem “For The Gambia, Our Homeland” with music, vocal and lyrics English

Where did Yahya Jammeh go into Exile what is he doing today?

There’s very little ‘latest news’ about Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, a Gambian baby-kisser and a former army officer. He was also the President of the Gambia from 1994 to 2017.

However, his leadership will imprison the people of the Gambia for a very long time. His twenty-one years of service are highlighted with torture, killings, and financial meltdown. Much like most presidents in Africa, Yahya Jammeh continuously used tribalism and bigotry. This was meant to create division and fear as a tactic to maintain power.

Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, was just a Gambian baby-kisser. However, his bad leadership will imprison the people of the Gambia for a very long time. #FatumasVoiceForum Click To Tweet

In March 2017, he was photographed on a farm in Equatorial Guinea where he went into exile after cleaning up the country’s treasury. His presidency can be defined by the oppression of anti-government reporters, opposition leaders, and the LGBT community.

Read this article about President Museveni’s illegal detention of Uganda’s Bobi Wine. It will help you understand African Presidents and their secret “Support Clubs”.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at the White House on Aug. 5, 2014. (Photo courtesy of the State Department)

Jammeh also tousled foreign policies with Senegal, their only neighboring country. This affected trade and relations with Senegal, which was once merged with the Gambia to form one country called Senegambia.

During his final week of power, Yayah Jammeh had stolen $11.4 million from the nation’s treasury. Jammeh also allegedly siphoned at least $50 million and used a cargo plane to ship out his luxurious cars. He literary left the country with a debt of more than $1 billion.

During his final week of power, Yayah Jammeh had stolen $11.4 million from the nation's treasury. He literary left the country with a debt of more than $1 billion. #FatumasVoiceForum Click To Tweet

In 2013, before leaving office, Jammeh withdrew the Gambia from the Commonwealth nations. In 2016, he started the process of withdrawing from the international criminal court. This was later rescinded by 52-year-old Adama Barrow, who is the 3rd and current President of the Gambia since 2017. President Barrow stated that a “truth and reconciliation commission” will be appointed to research any possible crimes committed by Yahya Jammeh.

“We inherited an economy that was virtually empty. With one month import cover – and that is very, very serious – our domestic and foreign debt was at highest level.” President Adama Barrow

We inherited an economy that was virtually empty… With one-month import cover - and that is very, very serious - our domestic and foreign debt was at highest level. President Adama Barrow @BarrowPresident Click To Tweet

Bobi Wine: How censorship is working against Uganda’s tyranny and Dictatorship

Different Ethnicities One People: Wolof, Jola, Serrer, Mandinka, Fula…

A few months ago I wrote on my blog that I have seen my people leaning towards tribal bigotry and political lines. This clearly wouldn’t take us any forward but separate us instead. I cherish my Gambia where we are all brothers and sisters. Where Muslims and Christians live together and celebrate each other’s feasts together.

I am a Wolof with a Jola surname and a Serrer mother, my sibling’s mother is a Mandinka, while others have a Fula mother. I am a Muslim and have Christian friends. That is my Gambia, your Gambia and our Gambia. I wish to see my people be each other’s keeper.

Different Ethnicities One People: Wolof, Jola, Serrer, Mandinka, Fula… #FatumasVoiceForum Click To Tweet

This conversation couldn’t have happened at a better time than now, even as Muslims observe the Holy month of Ramadan. During this period, we are expected to forgive and seek forgiveness from others. To share food and try as much humanly as possible to be good towards each other.

It should be about how we collectively contribute towards the positive development of The Gambia. Not fight over personal ideology, enrichment, or anything else which is not in the interest of the general good. The people in Senegambia have always shared culture and language. However, the geographical separation builds social and cultural barriers that are present until today.

Tribal Bigotry: Chief Nations and Tribes of Senegambia. Senegal Gambia 1885 old antique map

What Senegambia Confederation was and why it became history

Senegambia, formally the Senegambia Confederation, was a loose confederation within the late twentieth century. It was made up of two West African nations: Senegal and The Gambia (which is sort of totally surrounded by Senegal).

The Senegambia Confederation was born in February 1982. At that time, there was a massive-scale Senegalese intervention on behalf of the embattled Gambian authorities. The birth of Senegambian Confederation may be attributed to the leftist coup in the Gambia. All happening on 30 July 1981 after a joint decision by the Senegalese and Gambian governments.

The Senegambia Confederation was born in February 1982, following the massive-scale Senegalese intervention on behalf of the embattled Gambian authorities. Click To Tweet

The collapse of the Senegambian confederation by Arnold Hughes

The Flag: the blue stripe symbolizes the river Gambia, which flows between the green forest and the red savannah. White stands for unity and peace.

Protocols were placed to reaching a defined political and financial union between the two nations. Senegal sought a political evolution toward a unitary as opposed to a con-federal nation.

Soon, the problem of Gambian sovereignty being threatened by the more stable and stronger Senegal arose. At the same time, Gambian authorities slowly gained confidence and as recollections of the coup attempt of 1981 receded. Its political authority was also re-installed with the citizens.

The Gambian Flag: the blue stripe symbolizes the river Gambia, which flows between the green forest and the red savannah. White stands for unity and peace. #FatumasVoiceForum Click To Tweet

Clashing interpretations of the union resulted in a mutual disappointment. The treaty was shelved in 1989, soon followed by Senegambia’s formal dissolution. The collapse of the Senegambian Confederation is a paper written by Arnold Hughes, from the University of Birmingham.

It attempts to examine the history of the 9-year statehood of Senegambia. The paper also seeks to relate this to the broader experience of inter-country integration and separation in modern African states like Sudan and Ethiopia.

Slavery and Slaves from Senegambia, The Gold Coast and The Bight of Benin:

World Map: Slave Trade in History - Deportation Flows 15th-16th Centuries (the years 1401-1600) Slave Routes, Deportees Illustrating: Number of deported slaves, Senegambia, Caribbean Islands, Pernambuco. Bahia

Slave Trade in History - Deportation Flows 15th-16th Centuries (the years 1401-1600) Slave Routes, Deportees Illustrating: Number of deported slaves, Senegambia, Caribbean Islands, Pernambuco. Click To Tweet

More than one out of two of the slaves shipped to French Louisiana, 3,250 out of 5,987, arrived from Senegambia. They were regularly diagnosed as Bambara or Mandingo. Senegambia was the principal source of the Atlantic slaves delivered to Louisiana for most of the mid-16th century.

The slave trade to Louisiana was organized through the Corporation of the Indies. This was a private organization certified with the aid of the king of France that managed, administered, and held a special slave trade monopoly.

The French presence became properly established in Senegambia way before the Africa slave exchange to Louisiana started. French traders had asserted their right to a monopoly of trade in Senegambia in 1664.

Goree Island - French Creoles | African Heritage

The last ship, arriving in 1743, also came From Senagel. It is relevant, therefore, to look to Senegambia for the African roots of Louisiana's Afro-Creole culture. Click To Tweet

Should we cut (dependancy) links with foreigners & develop Kenya with our own resources?

Conclusion: They call it The Gambia, we call it home…

As the Gambia marks 53 years of nationhood, I call on every Gambian to pray for peace and act in a way towards peacebuilding. We need to nurture our diversity for that is the only way we will achieve our national development goals.

For Allah (S.W.T) created us differently and our differences should be our uniting force. For decades we have lived as a single family. A Mandingo can marry a Fula, a Jola marries an Aku, a Wolof marries a manjago and Christian marries a Muslim and vice versa.

Recently, I have seen Gambians advocating for identification based on tribal, political and social status. This will not bring us together and instead encourages the idea of one group being greater than another.  “You are either with us or against us”.

Instead, we must endeavor to nurture the culture of #OneGambia #OnePeople #OneCountry. This is the Gambia we inherited from our parents and ancestors. We owe it to coming generations to hand them over the Gambia that is better than what we inherited.

Let us reaffirmed our firm allegiance towards the common good. Tribal Bigotry has no place in any civilized generation. They call it The Gambia, while we call it home.

They call it The Gambia, we call it home... ~ @njockmalick #FatumasVoiceForum Click To Tweet

About the Author – Malick M Jarju (Dabakh Malick):

Malick M Jarju (Dabakh Malick) is a 38 years old Gambian Entrepreneur and Social Activist.

Malick M Jarju (Dabakh Malick) is a 38 years old Gambian Entrepreneur and Social Activist. He holds a B.A. in Financial Administration, loves blogging here and is also a poet.

Besides being a perfectionist, he is business minded, ambitious and a seeker of knowledge. Some of his top interests include Africa, Youth, and Financial Sustainability. Check out his profile here.

Tribal Bigotry: Say No to Tribalism - Children cutting down a tree that represents tribalism while an elder walks by with a watering can - Gambiano net