Gambia’s outgoing President Yahya Jammeh who is refusing to step down after losing elections has accused supporters of the winning opposition coalition that backed President-elect Adama Barrow of tribalism and violence.
President Yahya Jammeh told a group of religious elders that coalition supporters were insulting his tribesmen and going into the homes of people that had voted for him insulting and beating them.
“This country cannot be ruled based on tribe. It will destabilize the country. If you are the winner of the elections, you conduct your celebrations in peace not violence and tribalism,” Jammeh said.
President-elect Barrow’s transition team denied Jammeh’s claims.
Mr. Jammeh had been notorious of threatening genocide against the Mandinka ethnic group. He had been warned by UN genocide advisor not to make “reckless statements” after he threatened to kill Mandinka people like ants.
There were few instances of tribal sentiments that spur condemnation from Gambians on social media. President-elect Barrow admitted tribalism does exist but at a very small scale and not at the magnitude that Jammeh and others are trying to pitch it to.
Gambian observers say if there are tribal issues, Mr. Jammeh has to take the blame for attempting to strengthen his grip on power through a divide and rule method that contributed to his loss in polls.