Monday, October 11, 2010

President Jammeh Calls for Honesty and Patriotism


Argues African Leaders and Intellectuals Retards African’s Progress

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The President of the Republic of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh has called on Gambians to be honest and patriotic. “This year, I have decided to select ‘Honesty and Patriotism’ as the theme to underscore the importance of these two attributes, in the absence of which no nation, no matter how well resources endowed it may be or how well meaning its government is, could achieve rapid
sustainable development,” Jammeh said on the occasion of his country’s 45th
Independence Celebration in Banjul.

President Jammeh also argues that African’s progress has been retarded and continues to be so, largely because of the attitude of Some African Leaders and intellectuals, who he said fail in their duties and
responsibilities, and often in their deceit of the poor, the illiterate and the
vulnerable, promote corruption, disunity and the continuous plundering of the
continent’s vast resources at the expense of Africa.

In his statement, the British were also not spared as he compared their activities in The Gambia as colonial Masters for four centuries to virtually nothing, when it comes to development aspect of the country.

Below, we reproduce the full text of Jammeh’s Statement on 18th February, 2010. Read on…


Today marks the 45th Anniversary of our country's Independence, and as we celebrate with joy and reflections, we should all give back thanks and praises to the Almighty Allah for enabling us to witness yet another Independence Day
when we recount with gratitude, the achievements of the past decades, and
anticipate the challenges of the coming years.
The day is a moment indeed to reflect on what we should do better, righter,
with added vigour and perseverance to move The Gambia forward to becoming the
nation as enshrined in our Vision 2020 development blueprint. It is therefore a
moment for individual as well as collective soul- searching for answers to
questions of what we must do in order to overcome the daunting challenges and
the unending task of nation-building.

This year, I have decided to select ‘Honesty and Patriotism’ as the theme to underscore the importance of these two attributes, in the absence of which no nation, no matter how well resources endowed it may be or
how well meaning its government is, could achieve rapid sustainable
development. In short, I wish to reiterate the need for all of us to inculcate
and demonstrate a more practical show of honesty, and selfless services to and
infinite love of our dear motherland, The Gambia.

We must put The Gambia first before self, and work together in peace, unity and mutual respect if we are to earn the blessings of The Almighty Allah for us to build one of the greatest nations on earth. It is not
a far-fetched dream since small countries like Singapore were able to do it with
meager resources.

For us to build a modern nation that is better than the rest, we must be ready to put our fate in Allah first and put our country’s interest above our individual interest.

We must be ready to work harder and for longer hours with little salaries that our country can afford now until such a time that The Gambia is wealthy enough to pay fat salaries. This is what the Japanese, the Chinese
and Singaporeans had to do before becoming what they are today; modern economic
giants where low salaries are a thing of the past.

We have a choice to make – work harder with absolute honesty and build an ultra modern nation in a short span of time; where poverty, small salaries and backwardness would be a thing of the past or work less, be
dishonest and stagnate the country into a backward nation where poverty,
destitution and low wages would be the order of the day. Nobody can sacrifice
without being honest. You cannot be honest if you do not believe in Allah the
Almighty and fear Him.


Fellow Gambians,


I am confident that after forty-five years of Independence, every Gambian knows what the benefits of honesty, hard work and patriotism are. Four hundred years of British rule, not even one Gambian was ever commissioned to the rank
of Lieutenant in the Colonial Army. Four hundred years of British rule, not a
single Gambian was trained by the colonial master to be a Medical Doctor. Four
hundred years of British rule, not a single Gambian was trained to be a
scientist. Four hundred years of British rule, they built only one high school
(Armitage High
School
) and two hospitals – Bansang and Royal Victoria
Hospitals
.

Four hundred years of British rule, they constructed only one highway – Banjul to Soma. Four hundred years of British rule, they did not build even one storey
building. And at the time of Independence
45 years ago, there were less than fifteen air conditioners in the country and
less than five hundred ceiling fans. Four hundred years of British rule did not
give us more than four megawatts of electricity in the whole country. In fact,
four hundred years of British rule less than one percent of the country was
electrified. Today, 45 years, The Gambia has become a modern country to be
reckoned with. Today, 75% of the big towns and cities are electrified.

Four hundred years of British rule left us with 95% of the population without potable drinking water. Today, 85% of the populations have potable, accessible and reliable drinking water. Today, we have more high
schools and modern tertiary institutions and a university that can stand up to
any modern university anywhere in the world!!

At the time of Independence 45 years ago, we had less than five Gambians holding a Bachelors degree and none with a Masters degree thanks to the colonial government.

One may be tempted to ask why I am reminding the Gambians of what has happened under colonial rule? The answer is very simple. This is because Africans are perceived by the same countries that colonised us, to be
incapable of Governing well i.e. provide Good Governance. I am tempted to ask
this question – what is Good Governance? Build one high school, no university
and two hospitals in four hundred years or build hundreds of schools, hospitals
and a university in fifteen years!

Today, we have more than six hundred graduates here in The Gambia! We have more than sixty Medical Doctors in fifteen years trained by The Gambia Government. Today, we have a modern airport, modern highways including
street lighting. Still we are accused of bad governance! Not one surviving
colonial building was built by the British except for the various forts for
defence and James Island Fort for keeping slaves and the Mile Two Prisons.

If we are incapable of caring for our people before the colonial era, and if we were such ruthless rulers, how come there were no prisons in the whole of Africa before the coming
of the White man? In Africa and more so The
Gambia, there is no local name for a “prison” in any of the local languages!
Still we are not democrats and not capable of Good Governance!!


Fellow Gambians,


Boys and Girls let nobody fool you. We have seen the difference between Gambia four hundred years under British rule, and Gambia
thirty years after Independence
and fifteen years after the July 22nd 1994 Revolution.


My Dear Compatriots,


Let us unite with honesty; work hard and this country will surpass Great Britain in Five or more years Allah willing. Nobody is going to develop our country for
us. Nobody can love this country more than we the citizens of this country.

Only we The Gambians working together and putting our collective national interest first can make this country an economic super power we aspire to be in the very near future, Allah willing.

As we celebrate 45 years of Nationhood, let us reflect on where we came from, where we are today and where we would want to be tomorrow. Where we shall be tomorrow depends first on Allah the Almighty and we The
Gambian People.


Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen,


I want to take this opportunity to thank all our true friends who through the years have been and continued to be very benevolent to this country. True friends they are who stood with us through thick and thin
and continued to stand by our side as we march towards a very glorious,
dignified, peaceful and prosperous Gambia where poverty, destitution and
backwardness would be history.

In Allah we put our destiny. In Allah we entrust our Nation’s Destiny. With Allah on our side, we shall never fail. We shall never be backward. We shall never be colonised, enslaved or subjugated again. Not
even for one day.


Fellow Gambians,


In general, African’s progress has been retarded and continues to be so, largely because of the attitude of Some African Leaders and intellectuals, who fail in their duties and responsibilities, and often in
their deceit of the poor, the illiterate and the vulnerable, promote
corruption, disunity and the continuous plundering of the continent’s vast
resources at the expense of Africa.

I would like to warn that these unpatriotic and opportunistic tendencies no longer have a place or space to thrive in The Gambia of today, because patriots no matter their size and numbers, would not relent
but instead triumph in their struggle to defend and protect the interest of the
masses from the man-made calamities of today that are abound in many parts of
the continent.

Like honesty, patriotism requires good and positive thinking and not tribalism and malicious acts that only lead to discord, disunity, and instability, which, as a continent we should not and would no longer tolerate.


Fellow Gambians, Boys and Girls,


Honesty and patriotism in nation-building also require that we move from conducting ‘business as usual’ to adopt innovative, more responsive and improved measures, systems and processes. Development is only
possible through the adoption of a revolutionary path and a radical but well
guided departure from carefree or non committal attitude. I therefore wish to
call on all of you to be more committed to the delivery of effective, efficient
and honest services to our Dear Motherland. It is only when we do so that we
can cut down on the high transaction cost as well as the time involved in
delivering public services. In our pursuit to become distinctly identified as
the most progressive nation, I would like to urge that we all work hard with
honesty at all times to make The Gambia a citadel for economic prosperity for
the rest of mankind in general, and the African continent in particular to
emulate.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls,


Attitudinal manifestations in adult life take root in infancy. In this vein, I wish to urge parents and teachers to help inculcate in our children the values
of honesty, love and selfless service to the Motherland. This is particularly
important because children everywhere constitute today's hope for the future.
Families should be wary of the threats of dangerous foreign cultures that are
infiltrating our societies unchecked and exposing our children of lifestyles
that are neither African nor Gambian and distinctly UNGOLDY! Government's
responsibility in this critical endeavour is however limited only to creating
the right environment that would ensure that our children are protected from
all forms of exposure to such evil and anti human attributes so that they can
develop into virtuous and Allah-fearing adults. The family as a child's first
institution of learning has the bigger and more challenging role in moulding
children into becoming responsible and dependable adults tomorrow.
For its part, I would like to assure you of my government's continued and
unrelenting commitment to promote economic growth, achieve food
self-sufficiency and create the enabling environment for the promotion of
equity and equality for all as critical ingredients to create a wealthy and
prosperous country. My government would not compromise and relent in its
efforts to consolidate the achievements of the past fifteen years. In the
coming years, with the help of the Almighty Allah, we will do no less than we
have done, I as I ask nothing more from you than sincere and committed
partnership and rallying fully behind my government. In this way, and together,
we would rejoice in the Promised Land of plenty, and in greater prosperity,
peace and love where each one of us would be our brother's keeper.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls,


In conclusion, I would like to thank and congratulate all those persons who have contributed to the grandeur of the occasion, in particular our honoured
and distinguished guests from countries friendly to The Gambia. I also wish to
acknowledge with profound gratitude and appreciation, the efforts of parents,
teachers and school children; and of course, the large turnout of the different
cultural and voluntary groups as well as the APRC party militants, particularly
those from the Regions.
I also recognise with similar gratitude the presence of the diplomatic and
consular corps here present and representing friendly Governments and
organisations that continue to stand by us at all times, ready to help us
achieve the goals and objectives for which we set ourselves especially Vision
2020 and the MDGs I wish you all a very happy Independence celebration.

Long Live The Gambia!
Long Live Africa!
Long Live all patriotic Gambians!
Long Live Friends of The Gambia!
Long Live Friends of Africa!
I thank you all for your kind attention VOL:3
ISSN:99

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