BANJUL, March 12 Gambia will drop English as an
official language soon because it is a colonial relic, President
Yahya Jammeh has said, without indicating which language the
tiny West African country would use in its place.
Gambia's 1.9 million people speak several African languages
including Mandingo, Fula and Wolof, the most widely spoken
language of Senegal, its only direct neighbour. The country
gained independence from Britain in 1965.
"We no longer believe that for you to be a government you
should speak a foreign language. We are going to speak our own
language," Jammeh said in an address in English last week that
was broadcast on Tuesday.
English is the main language of education, but Jammed said
that was no reason to keep it. "The British did not care about
education, that means they were not practising good governance.
All they did was loot and loot and loot," he said.
Jammeh spoke during the swearing-in of Justice Ali Nawaz
Chowhan, a Pakistani national, as Gambia's new chief justice.
The president, who seized power in a 1994 coup, drew
international criticism after he executed a number of prisoners
in 2012. In October, he accused the United States and Britain of
fomenting coup attempts and supporting the opposition.
He did not give a precise time frame for the dropping of
English but said it would happen "very soon."
(Reporting by Pap Saine; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Tom