Jammeh receives 41 Bissau students

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, on Monday, received 41 students from the Republic of Guinea Bissau; members of an organisation called President Yahya Jammeh Fans Club.

The students, who were the guests of the Gambian leader, had been in Kanilai for the past few days, helping the president on his farm.

Addressing his guests, President Jammeh praised the students for a move he believes was instrumental in consolidating the already existing ties between Banjul and Bissau. “If you are my fans,” the president said, “I am also your fan”; a remark that was met with rapturous applause from the visiting students.

The president informed his guests that since he assumed the mantle of leadership of the country, he has never spent his holiday outside the country, re-emphasising his believe that as a leader, he embodies the ideals of the nation, and that opting for perceived comfort outside Africa would be the wrong message to his people.

“If European leaders do not spend their holidays in Africa, why should I spend mine in their countries?” President Jammeh asked.

“Since July 1994,” he went on, “14 years today, I have not spent my holiday outside this country.” He said that all he had been doing was farming.
On Banjul-Bissau relations, the Gambian leader told his visitors that Guinea Bissau “is important to us”, reminding them about the numerous Gambians who had taken part in the liberation struggle against the Portuguese.

He noted that while the contribution of some of these Gambian liberation heroes have been noticed such as that of the late General Ansumana Manneh, “many others have died in the struggle and their names never came out”.

President Jammeh called for unity in order to develop West Africa and recover “our lost glory”. The young generation, the president said, would be crucial in this regard. He called on the students to endeavour to move forward, warning against division.

“You have the right to belong to any political party of your choice back home,” he said, “but beware of division”.

The visiting students were evidently impressed with their host, as confirmed by one of them. “Having been told of your pan-Africanist stance”, a representative of the students told the Gambian leader, “we have seen it for ourselves”. He disclosed that they had also been told about the president’s closeness to his people, the truth of which they had also been opportuned to ascertain.

In simple terms, he said: “if 50% of African leaders were like you, the African continent would have achieved the level of development it yearns for.”

Author: DO