Gambia: An open letter to the Jolla Gambians


The Senegalese people in general have an attitude that there is no problem on earth that cannot be solved by dialogue. Note the word dialogue! This means a two way conversation working towards a mutually acceptable solution.

As a Gambian I know that in general you Jolla are very hardworking, honest and have brought great benefit to Gambia by your sweat and hard work. You are an asset to the Gambia, provided you see yourselves as Gambians first and Jolla second. This applies to all tribes in Gambia. We were divided by our colonial masters into colonies which cut across tribal and cultural divisions. We cannot reverse this, but we can live and work together for the betterment of Gambia as it is today with no one tribe dominating the government. This is the beauty of democracy. 

Sadly at independence tribal divisions and interests re-surfaced and tensions rose. Through lack of education you were in menial jobs (drivers, maids, gardeners) oppressed and despised. This was wrong but it happened. Jammeh’s regime played a great part in reversing this trend with positive discrimination in your favor, to the point that we now have in effect a Jolla regime in total power. This also is wrong and a lot has happened in your name that has brought Gambia to the point of civil war with the anger of the majority Mandinka and other tribes likely to be focused on you as a tribe, whether innocent or guilty. However two wrongs don’t make a right. These imbalances and differences must be resolved through dialogue. 

The majority of Jolla’s in power have to realize that this situation of oppression and counter oppression cannot continue. There is no question of going back to the pre Jammeh situation, but neither can you continue as a minority tribe oppressing all others. The current political tension must be resolved through dialogue with the other political leaders and the tribal interests they represent. All have and continue to suffer economic hardship due to our impasse with Senegal and abandonment by the international community. Sickness, poverty, starvation etc apply to all irrespective of tribe. Unique to you Jolla is the Casamance situation much of which has been prolonged and made worse by Jammeh. They are your ancestors and family. He has done much to harm them and their interests. It is time to resolve this situation peacefully and move on. Whether Casamance can be independent of Senegal or not is questionable, but the present situation cannot and should be allowed to continue. Senegal, Gambia and Casamance are effectively one social and economic unit which should work together for the common good.

My point? As Jolla please recognize that Jammeh may have brought you great benefits as an oppressed tribe, but he has also led you to destruction. It is time to re-consider your tribal allegiance to him, and choose new leaders who will negotiate with the all political interests to build a new Gambia. Please do not let us become like Rwanda with the Tutsi/Hutu genocide. It’s not too late, but time is running out fast. This last week has proved the saying that a week is a long time in politics. Events are spinning out of control but you have the power and intelligence solve the problem with Jammeh and save Gambia from civil war and yourselves from genocide.

A Gambian Patriot.

Join The Conversation