One of the banes that has plagued the African continent even before independence is the issue of tribal and/or regional politics. The colonialists saw this and took advantage of it using the divide and rule mechanism to control Africans.

Since the African countries gained independence also, many of them have not been able to neutralize this cancer which has caused a lot of strife and led to the loss of thousands of lives around the continent.

It is not unheard of, in fact, it is common, for African politicians to use the regional or tribal card to rally people behind them. It gets so bad sometimes that once someone’s name is mentioned, people can almost, with a degree of certainty, say which party s/he belongs to. This is not right.

This type of politics blinds the people to the real issues which should be tackled by people who are competent and have the necessary skills to lead the country and solve its problems. If people support parties or individuals based on tribe, religion or region, it takes away that component called competence and can lead to the retrogression of the nation.

It is for this reason that the Gambian Constitution does not permit anyone to register a tribal, regional or religious based party. No party should be exclusively for one tribe, region or religion.

Politicians should therefore be very mindful of this as it has the potential of delaying the progress of the nation; or worse, causing a civil war which can set the nation back for decades.

It is hoped that all politicians and political parties take precautions to ensure that their members are not involved in regional, tribal or religious politics. Sovereignty is shared equally and therefore it does not matter what tribe or region someone hails from. Let us promote our common values.

Let us seek unity in our diversity rather than exploit it to disunite people.

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