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Gov’t vows to address plight of villagers, as President Jammeh continues Meet-the-People Tour

Jul 15, 2011, 1:58 PM | Article By: Lamin B Darboe on tour

The Government of the Gambia through the minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, Dr Njogu L Bah, has vowed to address a series of concerns raised by communities within the North Bank, Central and Upper River regions of the country, as President Yahya Jammeh continues his nationwide meet-the-people tour.

The villagers, who spoke during meetings with Jammeh and his entourage in Kaur, Bakadaji and Gambissara in the Central and Upper River regions, expressed the need for government to address the lack of electricity and poor mobile telecommunications network in some of their villages.

The appeal by the people in these regions followed that of those in the North Bank Region, where the Gambian leader held his first two meetings.

The people in those areas appealed for the government’s intervention in helping construct feeder roads for Kerr Pateh and Salikene to improve livelihoods in the area, among others.

Addressing thousands of mainly farmers and youths at a meeting held in Kaur in the Central River Region, Dr Njogu Bah assured the villagers that their concerns will be addressed, as they are part of government’s plans.

“Your concerns have been noted, and I would like to assure you that they will be addressed,” Dr Bah declared.

He called on the people, particularly the youths, to turn out in their large numbers to vote for President Jammeh in the forthcoming presidential election.

According to Dr Njogu Bah, speaking in the Upper River Region, President Jammeh is not out politicking, but is on a familiarization tour to discuss with the farming communities their problems.

He told the gathering that there is a Gamtel-Gamcel project purposely for Jimara constituency, which seeks to boost the communications network in the area.

“As I am speaking to you now, President Jammeh has given you twenty bags of fertilizer and two milling machines,” Dr Bah told Gambissara villagers.

Speaking at the meeting, President Jammeh, who will be seeking a fourth term in office in the November polls, told the gathering that he is not a politician, but a farmer, while reiterating his earlier pronouncement that he will not embark on any political campaign to canvass for votes in the forthcoming polls.

“I am here to work for you and serve your interest, and I am doing what God has tasked me to do, and I will never tell you something that I will not do,” he said, adding that he will prefer to tell people the bitter truth, than make a promise that he will not fulfill.

Jammeh also reiterated his earlier calls for people, especially the youths to change their attitudes, respect their parents and work towards the development of the country for the benefit of all.

 “If you sit down and fold your hands, and say I want to go to Europe; if that is what would take you to Europe, then you shall see,” he told the youths, noting that young people must understand that the world has not changed.

“This world has not changed. It is the people themselves changing their attitudes and adopting lives that do not suit their culture and traditions,” he added.

The Gambian leader made his position clear that even if he promised that he would offer jobs to all those going to school, he might be deceiving them, noting that even God who created human beings could have made everyone rich or everybody poor, but he knew why he did not do so.

Addressing another meeting in Jimara Bakadaji in the Upper River Region, the Gambian leader promised that the feeder road linking Sotuma Sereh village to the Basse highway will be constructed.

Commenting on the youths, whose plight has featured in all the meetings so far, the Gambian leader described their attitudes as a cause for concern.

“How do you expect to be wealthy if you are reluctant to work today? How do you expect to better your life in future if you are reluctant to work today? The attitude that you the youths are upholding is bad, and not reassuring at all,” Jammeh queried.

Addressing a group of supposed defectors from the opposition UDP to the ruling APRC led by one Musa Sankano, President Jammeh said parading before him is not an indication that the supposed defectors will vote for him or not.

“As at this meeting, I cannot make any conclusion about your defections until after 25th November when the results are declared,” he told the defectors.

President Jammeh also told the defectors, who expressed the need for the government to provide them with portable drinking water and electricity that, in the mean time, they can ask the candidate they voted for in previous elections to provide it for them.

Other speakers at the meetings included Fatou Lamin Faye, minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Alagie Cham, minister of Communication, Yankuba Colley, APRC National Mobiliser, who all urged the villagers to rally behind President Jammeh and the ruling APRC party.