Dear Mr. Mbai, like many people, I have been a keen follower of your media programs for many years on various topics, particularly political issues. However, this is the first time, I am communicating directly with you via this medium. I hope despite your busy schedule, you will spare me few minutes to read my mail.
Well, the recent remarks by the President claiming that Mandinkas are foreigners from Mali, was indeed a piece of history lesson that I have never learn at school nor from oral history. I studied that they hailed from Mali, but this is the first time I learnt that they are non-Gambians.
The remarks by the president though difficult to comprehend but one can draw some interesting debate from it in relation to the fabric of Gambian societies. I grew up being told that the Manjagos came from Guinea Bissau, the Fulas from Senegal or Guinea Conakry, the Akus from Sierra Leone, Jolas from Cassamance` ( Senegal, south) etc.
Well, the scenario above therefore, suggest that The Gambia, is a nation of immigrants, who by destiny came together to form a nation called The Gambia. However, it is an open secret that over the decades or century some tribes claim more ownership of the nation than others. These people have taken the moral authority to determine who can be accepted as a Gambia citizen or otherwise. This unfortunate self-acclaimed authority designed and structured by another foreigner (the white man) has rendered other tribes either marginalized or being treated as second class citizens or non-classed citizens altogether.
Over the years, many Political and social activists have championed causes to see The Gambia move forward for better. It is interesting to note however, that most of the rhetoric are politically focused on the helm of power (the President).
In my view, the next herculean task a government will face is the issue of citizenship. In the 21 century, Gambia cannot afford to abandon its sons and daughters to be stateless despite claims to the contrary. The plight of these helpless people born in The Gambia but denied citizenship by a ‘Constitutional Clause’. It is time to encourage a national discussion on this matter and work on changing the afore mentioned ‘ Clause’ to allow full citizenship to any one born in The Gambia regardless where their parents were born. Certainly, getting such a bill through Parliament or national referendum will be a Human Right accomplishment.
I hope you will pick out some salient points in my mail as a professional Journalist to share with your audience through your media for the benefit of all Gambians and friends of The Gambia
Written By A Concerned Gambian.