VP urges protection of our intellectual heritage
Monday, May 21, 2012
The vice president and minister for Women’s Affairs has called for the protection of Gambian cultural heritage and norms saying traditional chiefs have a significant role to play in safeguarding it as well as in the maintenance of peace in the country.
Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy was speaking Friday in the Upper River Region while presiding over the official opening of the National Annual Congress/General Meeting of the National Council of Seyfolu (NCS) commonly known as ‘Mansa Bengo’ held at the Basse Mini Stadium in Koba Kunda. “Mansa Bengo” is an occasion in which chiefs across the country gather to discuss issues of concern to both the government and the citizens.
The significance of this event is the personal relationship that will be built between the traditional chiefs after which there will be days of deliberations on the theme ‘Gambian Culture and Tradition’ in which a comprehensive report of their agreement will be prepared and sent to the relevant authorities for recommendation and action.
VP Njie-Saidy said sustainable development and the maintenance of peace and order cannot be achieved without the involvement and participation of the Gambian traditional chiefs, while describing them as a very important component in preserving our cultural heritage.
She stated that everybody has a crucial role to play in helping the chiefs to complement their efforts in their drive to revitalise and showcase Gambian cultural norms and values. She also commended the Gambian chiefs for their efforts in participating in the development of the country.
“The development aspirations of the country cannot be achieved when the people of the country are not enjoying peace. Therefore, peace is of paramount importance in any nation develop or developing,” she added.
The VP further told the gathering that the government of The Gambia through the leadership of President Jammeh has trust and confidence in the chiefs, saying the role they play in the maintenance of peace and safeguarding our tradition culture at the grassroots level cannot be overemphasised.
Her words: “Taking into account the vital role they play in the country, that is why the government of The Gambia established the National Council for Seyfolu (NCS), because they are custodians of our cultural heritage.”
She further dwelled on the importance of the event and urged the chiefs during their closed-door session to come out with tangible recommendations that are of national interest, while reaffirming the government’s commitment in its humble drive to make The Gambia and the world a safe and peaceful place for humanity.
For his part, the minister of Local Government and Lands, Lamin Waa Juwara , saidsuch events are very significant in helping the chiefs to revitalise Gambian culture. He recalled that the first Mansa Bengo convened in The Gambia was way back in 1956 and it has now become a tradition for Gambian chiefs to converge annually to discuss issues of national interest.
He thanked President Jammeh for his moral support in the promotion of Gambian culture and for also delegating the vice president to attend the official opening of the programme, which is a clear manifestation of his government’s commitment in moving culture forward.
Minister Juwara used the opportunity to urge the chiefs to take into consideration the rampant land disputes in the country, pointing out that if the trend continues it will affect the peace and stability of the country. He also commended all those who in one way or the other contributed in making the event a success.
Alhaji Omar Khan, the governor of the Upper River Region, commended the Gambian leader and the Ministry of Local Government and Lands for their foresight and efforts in the promotion of the country’s cultural heritage. He also decried the rampant land disputes in many regions in the country and further stressed the importance of promoting our traditional culture and the maintenance of peace and stability.
Also addressing the gathering, Alhaji Demba Sanyang, the paramount chief of The Gambia and the host chief, Hammeh Minteh Krubally of Fulladou East, both spoke on the importance of the event and solicited the support of everyone in preserving The Gambia’s cultural heritage.
The event also provided the opportunity for the chiefs to give out certificates of appreciation to various individuals who have contributed a lot in the promotion of culture in the country. Among the recipients were President Jammeh, VP Njie-Saidy, Ministry of Local Government and Lands, GRTS, Nigerian high commissioner, all the regional governors, area council chairmen, Hamidou Jah of Jah Oil Company, and SSHFC, among others.
The programme was chaired and moderated by the secretary general of the Council of Seyfolu, Ebrima Ansu Tamba Jammeh.
Author: Momodou Jawo in Basse, URR