Recently The Gambia’s so-called president Yahya Jammeh has made many pronouncements during his annual tour of the country that made various headlines worldwide. Such pronouncement includes the banning of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the renaming of The Gambia to The Islamic Republic of The Gambia. First of all, banning of (FGM) is long overdue and it is welcome wholeheartedly as the practice has no basis in modern society. It is cruel, barbaric and above all, inhumane as the victims of the practice suffer everlasting scars which they feel ashamed to share. Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho of GAMCOTRAP needs to be commended and celebrated as they have fought relentlessly over the years to see to the end of FGM in the Gambia.
However, Jammeh being a person who seeks attention, he wants to take credit for the efforts of those selfless women who since 1984 have been in forefront of fighting for the abolition of FGM in The Gambia. Because the country is perceived as a democracy, such issues should be governed by democratic process which is through the parliament and enact it into a law but for the president to take a unilateral decision on such matters, just goes to show the kind of system Gambians are being rule under.
Meanwhile, Jammeh’s calling for the re-naming The Gambia to Islamic Republic of The Gambia is nothing short of blatant disregard of the constitution and dictatorship. The Gambia is secular state, it cannot be qualified as an Islamic state because it is governed by constitution not Sharia. Besides, Gambian Muslims are happy to live side by side with their fellow Non-Muslims just as we did centuries ago without any interference from the government. What Jammeh should be worried about is himself and his household, to make sure his family are dress in Islamic dress and for him to stop worshipping false Deities, but not changing name. Changing name without changing attitude, is like leaving your back expose while covering your head, it has no use.
Jammeh cannot break our bond, as he was born and found Gambians living together as families, intermarrying, and celebrating our cultures together as Gambians but not as Muslims and Non-Muslims. Because of that he was able to fit and he took advantage of that and seized power for more than two decades.