As Gambians prepare to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of the Great July 22nd Revolution this Friday, Gambians from all walks of life have been telling their own side of the story on how the Revolution has impacted their lives.
It is often said, “He who feels it, knows it” and it is for this reason that the Director General of GRTS who also doubles as the Managing Director of Daily Observer, Momodou Sabally conceived this historic idea of a “22nd July Development Caravan” to allow people directly affected by the developments of the Revolution to tell their own story.
The Caravan will be touring the length and breadth of the country talking to Gambians on how the Revolution has impacted their lives 22 years on.
Mr. Ousman Jarju, Principal of Soma Upper and Senior School said the education sector in the Second Republic has improved massively with so many schools constructed across the length and breadth of the country.
According to him, he earned his first degree at home thanks to the Revolution.
Jarju who was caught on arrival from the Kombos on board the new GTSC bus services said the transport system in the country is overwhelming. “The transport system is very reliable and convenient and I thank the government under the leadership of President Jammeh for constructing good roads,” he told the 22nd July Caravan in Soma.
Awa Tabally of Kombo Brikama was quite happy with the unprecedented developments. “I never dreamt that a day will come when I can leave Brikama and reach Soma in less than three hours; I just have to pray for the leadership because to be honest, he has put smiles on the faces of women by empowering them in all aspects,” she told her story.
For someone to stay until late night selling in the streets is a far-fetch dream in many countries as security is not assured, but for Sira Jallow, a petty trader in Jarra Soma that is normal. “It is because of the security of the country that I am here at this time [night] selling without having worries of anything.”
She testified that the development ushered in by the Revolution is visible to every honest Gambian to see.
Oumou Bah, a young business lady urged the youth to stay home and support the development programmes of the Revolution. She said business is booming for her and she thanked the government for creating the peaceful environment for every Gambian to go about his or her business. “I am so proud of the Revolution because there is no place like The Gambia and we are equally proud of the security in the country,” she told the Caravan.
Alhagie Bojang, a driver, said the road network is appreciated by all drivers. “Drivers can’t complain now but to renew our love and support to President Jammeh and his government.”
He recalled the days when they used to go through so many difficulties as a result of poor road network. “We used to spend so much on maintenance because of the poor road network then,” Bojang told the 22nd July Caravan.
Satala Bah, a Guinean based in The Gambia was quite happy that foreigners are quite happy in The Gambia. Bah, who has been in the country for the past seven years said the development unfolding in the country is something every Gambian should be proud of.
Ousman Sidibeh, dealer in mobile accessories said the Revolution has brought about equal opportunities for all irrespective of location. He recalled that the electricity supply then was very poor in the First Republic, but now the supply of electricity in Soma is very good.
“I am forever proud of the Revolution because of the developments ushered in all sectors.”
Imam Nfansu Colley of Kiang Kaiaf could not hide his total support to the Revolution and his appreciation for the unprecedented developments in the past 22 years.
From health, education and good road networks among others, the Kiang old man said President Jammeh has done his quota and it is now up to Gambians to give back to him by supporting and praying for him (the President).
“God gave us President Jammeh and Gambians should accept it. We just need to rally behind him and support his development agenda,” he stressed in the local Mandinka language.
Musician Tatadinding Jobarteh of Brikama said the people need to be grateful to the Revolution for bringing about equality in all aspects of development.
Governor Omar Khan of Central River Region highlighted the numerous development projects unfolding in his region.
For him, CRR has not been left behind in the developments that the Revolution continues to bring to the door step of every Gambian.
Education, Health, agriculture, infrastructure and judiciary, he told the Caravan crew, are now accessible in his region and reaffirmed the support of his people for the Revolution.
“Within 22 years of President Jammeh’s leadership, many transformative initiatives were taken to develop our beloved country in all aspects.”
Pamatarr Jobe of Bansang and a product of the University of The Gambia said the establishment of the University is one of his biggest achievements of the Revolution. “University education was something I never thought of when I graduated from Armitage Senior School because I knew my family could not afford the money for Overseas studies, but thanks to the Revolution I had my degree at home through scholarship,” he told the 22nd July Caravan.
Governor Khan said the government has immensely contributed to the development of the health sector in the region. “We have benefited from various projects and we are still benefiting from more. Bansang Hospital being the only referral hospital in CRR is up to standard, after being severally blessed with various kinds of health equipment by Jammeh and his government. The new Janjangbureh health center project is also ongoing and will be completed in two months’ time by the Grace of God,” said Governor Khan.
Chief Momodou Lamin Baldeh, Chief of Lower Fulladou West said the Revolution has transformed the agricultural sector. “The Gambia gained actual independence in 1994 because it was from then that The Gambia has seen unprecedented developments in all areas.”
President Jammeh, he said, has empowered the women of The Gambia, saying people can’t distinguish urban and rural women.
The construction of the Sankuleh Kunda Bridge, he added, has improved the livelihood of the people.
Speaking to the crew at her rice field, Aminata Jamfo of Sankulay Kunda in Central River Region said, “We [rural women] thank God for his leadership.” She is hopeful that the government will continue to empower the women especially in the agricultural sector. She appealed to the government to help them with more farming implements and urged women to support the Revolution.
Governor Salif Puye of LRR and Chief Yahya Jarjusey of Jarra West were also appreciative of the unprecedented developments in LRR.
At the time of filing this report, the Caravan had arrived in Basse, the Upper River Region, received by an enthusiastic crowd with drumming and dancing. They planned to spend the night in Basse and proceed to Farafenni on Monday evening where they would spend the night and return to Banjul on Tuesday.
by Alieu Ceesay & Modou Lamin Jammeh on tour