STATEMENT FOR OATH OF OFFICE TO VICE PRESIDENCY, STATE HOUSE, THURSDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2017
Distinguished Madam Chairperson of ceremony
Your Excellency, President Adama Barrow of the Republic of The New Gambia
Honorable Cabinet Ministers,
Senior Government Officials,
Members of the Diplomatic and Counsellor Corps
UN Resident Coordinator,
Chiefs of the Security Services
Venerable Religious and Community leaders,
Representatives of civil society organizations
Members of the media fraternity
Family members and friends
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Alhamdullilahi RabbalAlameen x3
I thank Allah SWT for His Greatness, Grace and Mercy, which I have always trusted and through which He has allowed us all to be here on this historic dawn of the our New Gambia, to witness my subscribing to the oath to the Vice Presidency of The Republic of The Gambia, as required by the National Constitution.
Allah SWT has showed us His great mercy this past year by manifesting His miracles here in the Gambia through a historic and democratic change in the form of a unique architecture, namely Coalition 2016, comprising the UDP, PPP, NRP, GPDP, GMC, NCP and the First Gambian Female Presidential Candidate
Your Excellency President Adama Barrow,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corp,
Heads of the various institutions
Representatives of NGOs, CSOs
Chiefs of the Security Services and teams
Distinguished CoP and Team
Members of the Media Fraternity
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am humbled, honored and grateful by your distinguished presence at this historic and beautiful ceremony, marking my oath taking to the Vice Presidency at the dawn of The New Gambia, which Allah SWT has made happen through an extraordinary leader in the person of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, with the support of many of my fellow Gambians in the country and in the diaspora.
My special thanks goes to Your Excellency President Adama Barrow, for trusting,motivating and guiding me to be resilient to the trials and tribulations of my eleven months journey, which Allah SWT has concluded today. Your Excellency, I pray that Allah SWT rewards you in a special way for the unwavering trust and guidance,Aameen.
Distiguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
I also thank my entire colleagues of Coalition 2016,the bedrock for our democratic change, for entrusting with the leadership in its creation and strengthening. Allow me to state, that journeying with these eminent and tolerant personalities during these processes, including our first political impasse, which prompted the executive of the UDP and I sleeping along the main roadside at Fass Jarga Choi in 2015, and when many a time, some members of the coalition attempted to walk out of the negotiations, only to be persuaded by others to embrace The Gambia as agenda, have been a life-time rewarding experience. It is also befitting for me to thank our children, mothers, aunts, sisters, brothers, friends, the social media and partners. These include, among others, GDF, Article 19, Civil Society Forum and CCDHRP, under the exemplary leaderships of our sons and daughters in the Diaspora, daughter and son Fatou Jagne Senghore, Dr. Amadou Scatred Janneh and my humble self respectively, for contributing significantly to the change through effective political strategies and significant funding.
Suffice to say, that I equally endured the sleepless nights of inspiring debates, interviews, panel shows and fund raising with these great patriots and partners through their online radios and Minnesota live TV show, comprising Fatou Radio, Gainako Radio, Fredoom Radio, Kibaro Radio and Kairo Radio.
Let me also add that our national strive to champion the liberation of our political prisoners and other innocent citizens, including leaving home at 5:30 a.m.for prison visits, hospital visits and attending YahyaJammeh’s orchestrate Kangaro courts during many trials of these citizens, has also been both challenging and rewarding, Alhamdulillah. Many of these times, I got stranded on the road side to picked and dropped off by His Excellency President Adama Barrow, because many feared to give a ride. I am forever grateful to you, Your Excellency for this humane and courageous gesture. Thank You!
At his juncture I wish to thank my family, friends and rest of my fellow Gambians for supporting me throughout my journey by believing in my actions and granting me the solitude I needed to storm the journey for the supreme interest of our nation, The Gambia.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Please permit to thank our international community, particularly the UN, EU, US, UK, ECOWAS, Block, AU, China, Qatar, Turkey, Germany and the OIC Block, for strategically supporting our cause for democratic change.
Please allow me, at this juncture, to state, that I was able to endure all described journeys because of faith in Allah SWT’s saying that He never places a burden on any soul more than it can bear and that the rights of all human beings are inalienable hence they must stand up to all forms of social injustice. It is also important to state my optimistic character, love of my country and humility also contributed to my strength to storm all weathers, MashaAllah.
Borrowing from the following words of wisdom from our iconic father of Africa in the eminent personality of Madiba Nelson Mandela, I wish to echo these by quoting him:
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man or woman is not he or she who does not feel afraid, but he or she who conquers that fear.For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Democratic process has matured in The Gambia and we are committed to nurturing it towards its wiser years.For two solid decades, our nation has faced enormous challenges as a result of bad governance of a dictatorial regime of President Yahya Jammeh, which we, as a peace loving people, have fought against in a matured and resilient way . Today, our county, The Gambia embarks on a new democratic journey. Our inspired, talented, ingenuous and patriotic fellow Gambians, are ready to work with our Government to transform our country into a democratic model in the world through national constitutional, political legal, economic, social, security reform agenda.
As the train is departing, Gambians, whether at home or in the diaspora, think as Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy once did:
“Ask not what your country can do for you but, what you can do for your country”
Today, we have many challenges that look to reward those who strive, create jobs and indigenous business opportunities for our population at large. With an extra focus on women and Youth empowerment initiatives that are being development for fruition by 2018. Your Excellency, my colleagues and I in your Government as well as many other Gambians in the public, private and NGO sectors are working hard to support you to achieve vision, namely, peace, unity, a private sector-led inclusive growth, sustained development by 2021 within the framework of the National Blue Print.
The main economic drivers shall be the following to answer to the constituents needs and aspirations:
• An efficient and accountable civil service;
• A people-centered decentralization Act and strategies to empower our all communities to take charge of their narrative;
• A country-wide Improved transport and Infrastructure to facilitate communications;
• An efficient and accountable Women and Youth Empowerment Programme to close the increasing unemployment gap;
• An efficient Year Round Tourism Sector for employment creation and growth;
• A modernized and vibrant Agricultural Sector for employment, growth and that exportation valued-added local products and services;
• A well regulated Fishing Sector that enables actors to benefit from the abundance of seafood in high demand with lucrative in returns if properly brokered around the globe.
• An Education Sector that creates the future leaders of our nation by teaching them the values and principles that shall constitute their strength: strong foundation to build their dreams upon.
• A State of Art Forestry, Environment and Climate Strategic Operational Framework;
• An affordable, accessible and efficient primary health care delivery for all;
• An enabling environment for efficient and accountable SOEs and a private sector as well as appropriate light industries with a competitive edge amongst other world nations;
• AnICT architecture through our national GSM GAMTEL and GAMCELL as their partner GSM operators;etc;
Your Excellency, President Adama Barrow, as your constitutional principal assistant to which you have just sworn me and a development practitioner with 30 years of experience in my humble service at the United Nations ,I will remain a loyal servant to the citizens of our country and a pillar of support to you through effective coordination of your outlined dream blue print, In Sha Allah.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
As the Vice President of this great nation, a great task awaits me but,having performed well in the interest of our country under your leadership, during past 11 months, has deepened knowledge and strengthened my capacity to deliver the tasks. Specifically, I have come to learn that with each great challenge that comes on my desk, my strive to direct things as they should soars. I am more than ever determined to work harder and smarter than I have ever done in my life, to support you, your Excellency and my cabinet colleagues in transforming our country, The Gambia a Beacon of Hope for Africa and the world at large, Insha Allah.
The goodwill we have received this past year motivates and inspires me to be a golden champion of development. My mandates are numerous but each hold a special place in my mind and how to move the different portfolios keeps me going. With the support from the Executive and Legislative, we are on the right path and InshAllah, Gambia will emerge victorious.
Many a hot afternoon, many years months ago, many months ago, we struggle under the hot sun to see a day like today; a day when The Gambia becomes once more what she should be. A nation of respected rules and laws, a nation that honors its children with dignity and above all, a nation of one people irrelevant of ethnicity, clan, creed and religion. We must move forward as ONE Gambia in order to capitalize on Allah’s blessing and the goodwill the world has showed us these past months.
As Vice President and the Minister of Women’s Affairs of this beloved nation, I pledge to continue to realize my commitment and passion to facilitate our government’s goal of empowering women and the youths, who constitute the majority of our population. Women and youths play a prominent role in our national agenda and His Excellency, The President continues to be our wise leader. Women must be and are on the forefront of our development agenda. Gambian women continue to move forward gender parity policies on the continent. We have done that with the criminalizing of FGM, domestic violence, our endless fight against child marriage and eradicating all forms of discrimination against women. My standing here today is confirmation alone that women will continue to be part of His Excellency’s government.
Therefore, my aspiration for this nation is to provide all the required support to His Excellency, for him to realize his national development objectives, that are anchored in democratic principles and values; ranging from constitutional / security / justice reforms, economic revival, and social cohesionin the interest of equal opportunities and peace and prosperity.
I end with a few pledges:
• To continue to be a faithful servant to citizens of The Gambia;
• To continue to a loyal to you, your Excellency President Adama Barrow by placing
The interest of our nation at the heart of all my thoughts, decisions and actions; and,
Remain a role model and mentor for women and young girls of our nation
Remain a fair, caring and humble mother for our entire nation.
Your Excellency, President Adam Barrow,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corp;
Representatives of all institutions
Member s of the Media Fraternity
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
I have the honor, gratitude and respect for attending my oath taking ceremony to Vice Presidency of The New Gambia. I wish you Allah SWT’s Special Reward for sparing your precious time to grace the occasion.
I pray God guides all of our actions towards man’s brother and woman sisterhood, Aameen.
Thank you, Thank you and Thank you all.
Let me end by renewing my firm allegiance and my promise to our homeland ever true! Long live The Gambia!