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Imam Baba Leigh on Food Crisis, Poverty

Apr 28, 2008, 7:06 AM | Article By: By Nfamara Jawneh

The Imam of Kanifing Estate mosque, Imam Baba Leigh, has taken issues with the west for failing to fulfil the promise that they made to Africa with regard to poverty eradication, blaming them for contributing to the world food crises.

The outspoken Imam made these remarks last Friday during the Friday congregational sermon.

According to Imam Leigh the pledges made by world leaders to help Africa through such initiatives as the MDGs, NEPAD, PRSP, to name but a few, are all mere dreams. He argued that it is an indication of extreme poverty where one cannot find food. "[During] the last term of Tony Blair, he promised that he was going to concentrate more on Africa to improve the livelihood of Africans. People are saying Tony Blair is better than George Bush while others are saying Bush is more realistic. In fact Bush is more realistic than Blair," the Imam asserted.

Imam Leigh expressed the view that the main problem responsible for the current world food crisis is that food that people need to consume is being diverted as fuel for energy uses, known as biofuel.

The prevailing attitudes of people towards Allah and the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not escape the vitriol of the worldly-wise Kanifing Imam who was characteristically blunt. He especially denounced the impertinence of people who caricature the holy Prophet of Islam; the insidious phenomena of men marrying men and women marrying women and the general tendency to negate God. He noted that this is inexplicable in a world where people look up tom God to provide their various needs. "People nowadays insult angels, behave any how they feel like in the name of democracy. This is unacceptable!" he fumed.

Imam Leigh further urged people to desist from blaming Fula traders for being responsible for the high price of food in the country, adding that Fulas are not the importers of rice.

He implored the youth of the country to also change their attitude by not wasting time in brewing and drinking ataya but to work hard and learn skills. "We in The Gambia have no cause to complain as the country is blessed with a navigable river and vast land for cultivation." He concluded by emphasising the need for people to take agriculture seriously for the betterment of the country.