Two districts chiefs that strongly backed Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh were dismissed from their traditional rulership post by Gambia’s local government minister, officials say.
The chiefs of Kombo East Basiru Jarju and Kombo South Sheriffo Hajai Janneh were ousted by Minister Lamin Dibba, a decision that has not come as a surprise to political savants.
“They have been fired earlier this month but the decision is welcomed by the locals. In fact, it is a decision that has been long overdue. These chiefs were handpicked by Jammeh and it is now being returned to rightful persons, who were wrongfully dismissed by Jammeh,” a local government administrator said.
The newly appointed Kombo South Chief Lamin Darboe of Gunjur and Kombo East Chief Bakary Sanyang of Faraba Bantang held the positions before their abrupt sacking by Jammeh some 22 years ago.
Many chiefs across The Gambia have been handpicked by Jammeh. The former president used the local ruler to garner political support and votes to entrench himself in power.
District chiefs represented a tangible example of African leadership during British colonial rule in Gambia.
Jammeh depended on the district chiefs called Seyfo and the village leader called Alkalo to maintain a firm grip taking advantage of widespread illiteracy in the country.
Traditional rulers in the Gambia are now in a state of uncertainty wondering if they will be next to be ousted amid the sweep that seeks to clean the Barrow administration of Jammeh’s loyalists.