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My govt. will not encourage forced marriage, says Jammeh

Oct 25, 2012, 9:37 AM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

President Yahya Jammeh Tuesday vowed that his government will not encourage the idea of forced marriage in any form.

“Forcing somebody to marry someone because the individual is wealthy is illegal in both religions i.e. Muslim and Christianity,” President Jammeh said, while addressing the newly-crowned champions of the 4th edition of the Miss 22nd July Pageant, who paid a courtesy call on him at State House.

The group were at State House with members of the Miss 22nd July Pageant committee led by the chairperson of the committee, who also doubles as the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Fatou Lamin Faye.

“I know some people will say the competition is un-Islamic; how people dress is what is making it to be un-Islamic, but there is nothing wrong in contesting for a beauty pageant competition as long as the contestant dress in a decent manner; nothing will make it un-Islamic,” he stated.

“I know without the support of your parents, teachers and guidance, you will not participate in these competitions,” President Jammeh said, adding that “the competitions are not meant to turn you the contestants into bad women,” but to turn them into sound, honest, role models and real women that others can emulate to become good citizens, Muslims and Christians in future.

Noting that there exist many talents in the country, the Gambian leader assured all that he is going to come up with more competitions in future to give everybody the opportunity to showcase their natural God-given capabilities and abilities.

“Whatever you do people will talk about it, but that doesn’t mean that whatever they say was true of you,” he said, while urging the contestants not to be material-minded, but just concentrate on their education and act responsibly.

“Be careful of smiles, gifts, giving your mobile phone numbers to men, and don’t rely for your future on anybody but the Almighty Allah, and be content with what you have and know that anything you get against the will of the Almighty Allah is illegal. The Almighty Allah doesn’t like somebody who is arrogant; don’t look low upon anybody,” Jammeh advised the contestants.

According to the Gambian leader, if young people of this country do not come together, there is no way this country can move forward.

“Any competition I initiate is to give the young men and women of this country the chance I did not have when I was going to school, to be able to come out and showcase their talents, explore the possibility of their potentials, this is the objective of the entire beauty pageant,” he further explained.

“The competition is not to turn anybody into anything else other than be an inspiration to the younger generation of men and women that should follow after you,” he added.

Meanwhile, the first runners-up in secondary school category were: Ramouna E. Vierra from Methodist Academy Grade 12, second runner-up was Elizabeth K. Gomez of St. Joseph while Amie Gia from Bansang senior secondary school emerged as the third runner-up.

In the tertiary category, Daddo Faal of the GTTI came first, followed by Ramatoulie Gaye of GTTI in second place and Binta Jarjusey of the MDI in third position.