President says Gambia to shift from English

2014-03-09 22:31

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar - Gambia's president said that he wants to implement a policy change that would shift the country's language from English to a local language.

"We no longer subscribe to the belief that for you to be a government you should speak English language. We should speak our language," President Yahya Jammeh said during the swearing-in ceremony of Gambia's new Chief Justice that aired on state-run Gambia Television Services on Friday.

The announcement comes months after the West African country announced it is withdrawing from the Commonwealth, a collection of 54 nations made up largely of former British colonies, saying it would "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution".

The United Kingdom recently warned its citizens of rising anti-British rhetoric from the president, who last year accused the former colonial power and the United States of organising coup attempts in the West African nation. The allegations were denied.

Though a popular destination for British tourists, Gambia has also been criticised by the UK for human rights abuses, including when it executed nine death-row inmates by firing squad in August 2012.

Rights groups such as Amnesty International have also criticised Jammeh's government for cracking down on dissent and targeting political opponents and sexual minorities for arrest and detention, among other alleged abuses.

Gambia is at loggerheads with the European Union as the bloc threatens to suspend its aid if the country's human rights situation is not improved.

Jammeh, who came to power in a military coup in 1994, said the UK has no "moral platform" to talk about human rights.

"What brought the British to the Gambia in the first place - which was bigger than it is now - was trade in ivory because the Gambia had a lot of elephants," he said. "They wiped out all the elephants and ended up selling Africans."

Gambia is one of Africa's smallest and poorest countries with a population of about 1.8 million people.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    gambia  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

6 reasons Boks won’t botch it
Fiji far too strong for Uruguay
Burger hopes for elusive World Cup win
As it happened: Fiji 47-15 Uruguay
Traffic Alerts

Relationships and significant connections may play an important role in your day today. Let the warmth of the Leo moon inspire more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.