A former Speaker of the National Assembly, Elizabeth Renner, has congratulated the President on the recently held President Yahya Jammeh International Award for Quranic Memorisation. In a July 22nd anniversary message addressed to the President, Honourable Renner said the competition has succeeded in getting all Muslim youths to be more knowledgeable about their religion and to develop more awareness of God, their Creator and what He desires of us.
The message reads:
22nd Anniversary of the 22nd July Revolution in The Gambia
Every 22nd July, Gambians consciously or not, wonder about what would have happened to this country if a military takeover had not happened when it did on that fateful day in 1994. Time cannot be put back and no one is really keen for that to happen. Therefore what could have happened cannot really be envisaged and, if anything, would always remain a mere speculation.
Mr President, what is evident and concrete is what did happen after 22nd July, 1994; and there is plenty to thank God for. Gambians have since found themselves to be beneficiaries in a true and meaningful way from the dynamism and dedication exhibited by you, Mr President and those few patriotic Gambians who are determined to make the Revolution work.
The yields over the years have been varied and numerous. Developments which went to confirm what you had promised that this Revolution would be a Revolution with a difference. In fact evidence of this was already apparent by the bloodless nature of the takeover which itself was not followed by the usual personal harassment of the previous Government as is often the consequence of such events.
Today, Mr President, two decades plus two years after that fateful day, as we once again make preparations to mark the anniversary of the 22nd July Revolution, Gambians can look back and around, with gratitude and praise to The Almighty God, at all the developments that have taken place; developments that have positively changed the landscape of the country, and have affected the lives of the Gambian people socially, physically, economically and emotionally. More importantly, we thank God for the relative peace and stability that The Gambia now enjoys in the midst of all the terror and violence that is going on all around the world.
Mr President, though I want to resist from attempting to list these numerous developments under your able leadership it is worthwhile to mention two that are making significant impact on the lives of our youths, for which your regime alone can be given the credit. Therefore allow me, Sir, to congratulate you for the successful conduct of the yearly Islamic Religious Recitations Competition and the yearly Miss 22nd July Scholarship Pageant Competition.
The former, Mr President, has succeeded in getting all Muslim youths to be more knowledgeable about their Religion and to develop more awareness of God, their Creator and what He desires of us. The end result of which shall be God fearing people, which means honest citizens and desirable future leaders for The Gambia. The latter has succeeded in positively exploiting and developing the hidden talents of Gambian girls and help them develop their confidence and acquire requisite knowledge and skills. The end result of which shall be skilled and knowledgeable women, which means a bread of confident, sophisticated and independent women for this nation. Such are the type of women that, as mothers, will bring up our children to become the desired future leaders of this nation.
Congratulations, Sir, for bringing about desirable attitudinal change in our youths, the future adults of our nation.
Your Excellency, another feather in your cap, affecting the whole nation, is the ensuring that there is peace and harmony between the people of this country. During the past twenty two years you have, through words and actions demonstrated that religious intolerance shall not be tolerated, and that the religious hatred and violence that have been so rampant even in some of our neighbouring countries shall never become part of the history of The Gambia. We thank God for your noble stance.
It was not a surprise therefore, Sir, that, recently, in making a declaration for The Gambia to become an Islamic State you also warned that people of other religions should not be interfered with. This Islamic State, Sir, declared by you, the Leader of the Gambian Revolution with a difference, shall therefore be an Islamic State with a difference, as you yourself rightly told the Banjul Elders and the Islamic Religious Council on the last Feast of Eid Meeting.
Congratulations, Mr President, for upholding and strengthening the Muslim / Christian fraternity and solidarity that has always existed in The Gambia, and for which this nation is the envy of most countries around the world, over the past twenty-two years.
Your Excellency, this Twenty-second Anniversary also falls within the same month as the recent Feast of Eid. I therefore congratulate you and the First Family and pray that the Almighty Allah receive your fasting, and answer all your prayers during the Holy Month of Ramadan which preceded the Feast of Eid. May Allah also answer all the prayers that will be said in honour of the 22nd July Revolution Twenty-second Anniversary.
I conclude, Mr President, by praying that the next decade will see an escalation of developments for this country, not just as blueprints, but as developments already executed, and ones which shall impact positively on the whole nation.
I sincerely pray that the havocs and human destruction that we see and hear of all over the world these days may never reach the shores of The Gambia ever.
I also pray that we may continue to enjoy the peace for which The Gambia is known for. Therefore I ask our Merciful Father, The Almighty God, to grant us abundant peace during this Election year; peace during the Campaign, peace on Election Day and Peace after the Results.
While reiterating Heartiest Congratulations to you, Mr President, please permit me to also register congratulations and gratitude to those gallant men and women in the Armed Forces who continue to ensure that we enjoy peace and stability in this country.
In conclusion, Your Excellency, please be assured of my highest consideration and esteem at all times.
Elizabeth F.Y. Renner
Former Speaker of the National Assembly