Jun 23, 2009, 6:50 AM
In the Kanifing Municipality, the celebration was witnessed by the speaker of the National Assembly, government officials, governor of West Coast Region, Sifai Hydara, the Minister of the Interior, paramount chief of The Gambia and some guests from the neighbouring country, Senegal.
Independence anniversary celebration this year has been decentralized across the regions and municipalities in the country.
In Banjul, the celebration was held at July 22nd Square presided over by the Mayor of Banjul Abdoulie Bah.Security personnel, school children, civil society organisations and NGOs took part in the march-past.
Mayor Bah delivered the speech on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh to the assembled school children.
A similar event was held at the Buffer Zone in Tallinding, where the Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, Yankuba Colley, read the speech on behalf of President Jammeh. The following is from the speech:
“We celebrate 51 years of internal self-rule. What is appropriate for us as a God-fearing nation is to devote this occasion to prayers and expression of gratitude to Allah SWT both for our achievements as a nation under my government and for the peace and security that Allah has blessed this nation with.”
The President said the nation had reached the stage it is amidst many odds and animosity, as prophesies of doom and predictions of our failure were wished for the country since the dawn of the July 22 Revolution.
“We were victims of isolation by the main actors and development partners in the international community. However, with Allah’s blessings of staunch faith, commitment and dedication we have been able to weather all storms and tempests that come our way.
“And, Inshallah, our resilience will continue to be fortified by the strength of our faith in Allah, our submission to His will and our abstinence from evil as prescribed in the Holy Books of the Quran and the Bible and as had been the practice by Allah’s Prophets for the emulation of all humankind.”
He said Gambians should thank Allah SWT that “we are a God-fearing nation” and “our faith provides us with the solid basis to live together as brothers and sisters, love each other, care for each other and protect each other”.
These national characteristics, he noted, have been demonstrated by the Gambian people through “our culture of inter-ethnic and interreligious tolerance that has been the envy of many nations”.
“It behoves all of us, therefore, to guard and maintain these God-given traits so that our atmosphere of peace, security and tranquility will progress towards eternity. This is all the more important in the current world that is beset by violence, hate and upheaval in many quarters such as Mali, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine and Turkey, etc,” the President stated, calling on all to continue to do what is right, shun evil and satanic tendencies, and be pious, truthful and repentant.
He added: “Dear Gambians in particular and Humanity at large,I therefore, call all of us on this occasion of celebrating 51 years of self-rule and political independence, to renew our commitment and dedication to our religions with sincerity and steadfastness and our resolve to be independent from the temptations and influences of SATAN.
“Without this continual quest to be closer to Allah SWT and to be distant and freer from the machinations of SATAN, we will all be found wanting in the realization of our needs, objectives and wishes both as individuals and as a nation. We should therefore constantly pray to Allah SWT to protect us from evil and to subject us to His will and bless us with His bountiful mercy.”
He also said: “My Dear Gambians, Friends of The Gambia and the Human race in general, let me assure that the relationship between my government and your respective religious communities will continue to be mutually supportive and beneficial as it has always been. I am fully aware of the relationship of positive partnership and differentiated responsibilities between religion and my government.
“I have been constantly on record commending the Christian community for their success in inculcating the virtues of religious devotion, togetherness and law-abiding behavior in young Christians. Similarly, I have always lauded the religious revival among young Muslims manifested in their regular turnout in mosques for the five daily prayers and their firm commitment to fasting and other forms of worship during Ramadan.”