British Govt is Supporting Opposition Parties - July 28, 2010

The following content was published in the Daily Observer newspaper in the Gambia on July 28, 2010.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

'British gov't is sponsoring opposition parties'

His Excellency the President, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh has said that he has learnt that the British government, through its High Commission in Banjul, is sponsoring opposition parties in the country to contest against him in elections.

President Jammeh made this remarks Monday at a meeting held  at Arch 22 in  Banjul, as he winded up his 2010 'Dialogue with the people tour'. He said despite these efforts, they [opposition] will know that Gambians are not sleeping as he will again sweep the polls in the 2011 Presidential Election. "Why are those (West) not sponsoring the ruling government if they are talking about democracy? I swear, The Gambia will not be colonised twice. Let them do whatever they want to do, but this country will not be colonised twice," he said, adding that no matter the amount of money they give to the oppositions they will never have even a ministerial position in this country because Gambians are not fools.

He then reminded the gathering that throughout the 400 years of British rule, they [British] did not even build a single complex as National Assembly and today they are talking about lack of democracy in The Gambia. "I am sorry that when I was laying the foundation stone, I was very emotional because India was equally colonised by the British just like The Gambia and if they are coming to help The Gambia, why not the British who have been here for 400 years and never built even a state house," the president said.

According to him, The Gambia today is more democratic than the 400 years of exploitative British rule.  He said: "My message to the West is that if you think that Africans are stupid and you can fool us twice, then go elsewhere in Africa and fool them but The Gambia is a no go area for you. Gambians are conscious of development and are aware of what is good for them." 

The president further pointed out that during the 400 years of British rule in The Gambia, they could not even build more than two story buildings, adding that even the State House was build by the Portuguese, as well as the Quadrangle. "So what did the British build for us apart from the Mile Two Prison?" he asked.

President Jammeh further disclosed that even the landing runways at the Banjul International Airport were built by the Germans. He added that the Jeshwang Airport was also built by the Lobstancers of Germany, who also later built the Yundum Airport now Banjul International Airport. 

He then spoke of the important role The Gambia played in the aviation industry, adding that the first Atlantic flight and the first flight from Eastern Europe landed in The Gambia. He noted that such positive contributions were never recorded by the British as part of the history of The Gambia."So are they doing justice to The Gambia? Today we have laid the foundation stone of what is going to be one of the most beautiful parliamentary houses in the sub-region and it is not sponsored by our colonial masters, but who they colonised like they colonised us and they are so shameless talking about lack of democracy in Africa," he said. 

He then reminded Gambians to note that this country is one of the oldest and biggest countries in Africa that was reduced to a small snake by the British government who sold all our lands to the French. He further recalled that during World War 11 when Germany was about to defeat Britain, not only were Gambians conscripted and forced to go and fight in Britain, but civil servants were also contributing on weekly basis towards the war effort. 

The West, according President Jammeh, thinks that Africans are still sleeping. "This is why if you apply the laws of the country on the agents that they sponsor to destroy the country, they talk nonsense. The laws of The Gambia are for everybody within the jurisdiction. So if anybody violates these laws, the individual will be dealt with accordingly. If they think that Africans are fools, they are dealing with a new generation of awakened and patriotic pan-Africanist who will not waste their time to destroy Africa," he said.

Transforming Banjul 
He also stated his intention to transform the city of Banjul, saying he will never fail to surprise its' inhabitants with new projects. He maintained that he is not a politician, saying, "I don't talk about what I do. My responsibility is to do what I am doing and for people to talk about it. This is why when I plan to carry out works in a particular area, I don't inform the local authorities".The president stated that none of the speakers at the meeting requested anything that can give him sleepless nights, and promised to transform Banjul into a modern city, including Tobacco road. "Be rest assured that what I am going to do for Banjul and what you have seen will be different," he said.

He observed that if the current trend in Banjul continues, there will come a time when the city would end up becoming a 'capital of warehouses', and made it clear that he will not allow that to happen."What is even alarming are the health consequences as it will accrue more rooms for health implication. Therefore, my appeal to the people of Banjul is that since I cannot prevent anybody from selling his or her compound, but if they want to do so, let them sell it to the government because we have better plans for Banjul and we will not buy any property at a price that would affect the owners. We all know the value of these properties. So, we are not going to buy them at a price that they did not worth," he said.He then predicted that in 10 years time, all those who sold their compounds in Banjul will regret it as the capital will by then be totally transformed.

Responding to a request by one of the women speakers in the meeting, President Jammeh pledged D6 million to support women and youths of Banjul to set up a loans scheme to enable them venture into different businesses. 

He said: "I can never say no to women of Banjul the reason being that, looking at the gathering, 99 percent of them are all women. They manifest their total support and loyalty to me in all aspects. I will provide an amount of D3 million to the women of Banjul and another D3 million to the youths through the mayor of Banjul, Samba Faal, to create a women and youth investment loan scheme. I don't want the money to come back to me and I don't need any interest, but if you borrow, you must pay so that other women can also benefit from it," he said. 

He explained that he will be entrusting the responsibility of managing the scheme to the Banjul City Council (BCC) to avoid mismanagement of the funds which at the end of the day will create problems that might lead to the failure of the project. "I want all the women and youths in Banjul to take the money and put it into good use so that the other generation of Gambian women can benefit from it. This is what the trust fund for Banjul women and youths will be intended for," he said.  

Speaking earlier, the minister of Trade Employment and Regional Integration, Yusupha Kah, who doubles as the liaison officer for Banjul alongside Fatou Lamin Faye, the minister of Basic and Secondary Education, spoke briefly on the history of Banjul. He pointed out that Banjul today and Banjul before are different. "We must uphold to the APRC party and support President Jammeh in achieving his desire to transform The Gambia" he urged the people. He further urged parents to discipline their children and advise them to desist from drug use.

Lamin Kaba Bajo, the minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, thanked all those who followed the presidential delegation from the start of the tour to its end. He also thanked the people of Banjul for their support to the APRC from the referendum to date. He then urged the people to send their eligible children to register for the 2011 election, noting that the APRC is assured of another landslide victory. 

For his part, the mayor of Banjul, Samba Faal, thanked the president and delegation for their nationwide tour and welcomed them to Banjul. He expatiated on the level of unity among Banjulians, and expressed his gratitude for the numerous developments that have taken place in the city from 1994 to date. 

The mayor, on behalf of the people of Banjul, assured President Jammeh and the APRC of their continued support.The APRC national mobiliser and mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) Yankuba Colley, also thanked all those who in one way or the other contributed to the success of the 2010 'Dialogue with the people tour'. Other speakers at the Banjul meeting include Aja Fatou Bah; Assan Cham; Hon. Babucarr Nyang, the National Assembly member for Banjul South; Hon. Abdoulie Saine, NAM for Banjul central; and Dawda Drammeh, a youth representative.
Author: by Musa Ndow & Hatab Fadera on tour