Gambia: Think Honest, Act Honest - President Jammeh Urges Public Officials

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The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, has called for honesty, hard work, self-reliance and justice from public officials.

According to him, despite the various endeavours of his government to uplift the welfare of Gambians, there are still some civil servants who continue to have improper work ethics. For the Gambian leader, dishonesty, ineptitude and self-seeking behaviours among some public servants have been detrimental to the progressive work of his government to attain Vision 2020. This was contained in a message delivered to the nation on New YearÂs eve.

Below is the full text of the president's message.

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia

The end of each year marks a moment of giving thanks and praises to the Almighty Allah, for granting us life, strength, insight and ability to carry on with the demands of daily life as a people and as a nation. As we usher in 2010, with hearts full of prayers and gratitude, it is imperative that we reflect on our values as a people and as a nation. For the past fifteen years, I have consistently re-echoed that as Gambians and as Africans, we have to be a people who value ourselves and we have to be a people who celebrate our worth.

I believe that as Gambians and as Africans, if there is anything that should change in our conditions or in our welfare, it is we as a people who must work together to change it. There is no godfather who cares for our welfare more than we do care for ourselves.

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia

As we enter the New Year - 2010, it is essential that we reflect on our level of patriotism; as well as the wrong illusions that send our youth sailing in rickety boats to Europe and the necessity to denounce violence in all its forms. We should know that the only vanguard for national and continental prosperity is self-reliance and patriotism.

What moves us forward as a country and as a continent, is maintaining values that define us as a people, values that maintain our integrity as a nation and a continent, and values that foster our independence and self-reliance as a society and a continent. This means that as a country and as a continent we must look inwards for the solutions to the challenges facing us. It is important to note that the development of Africa cannot be imposed from outside the continent.

As Africans we should not rest on our laurels and expect that development will be doled out to us on a silver platter. Rather, we must take charge of our own destiny by inculcating in ourselves a strong sense of discipline, personal sacrifice and a culture of proper work ethics. By this, we should be able to overcome the challenges that we are faced with currently in a collective drive to national and continental development.

Fellow Gambians and Friends of The Gambia

I re-emphasise the need to change attitudes for the better. Under the new civil service reform programme, I will continue to urge for a strong commitment to the urgent need for attitudinal change. It is again time we scrutinized ourselves honestly and truthfully. Despite the various endeavours of my government to uplift the welfare of Gambians, there are still some civil servants who continue to have improper work ethics. This has been a serious challenge to public service delivery. Dishonestly, ineptitude and self-seeking behaviours among some public servants have been detrimental to the progressive work we continue to do in order to attain Vision 2020.

Patriotism requires that we have to put our country first before self and stay on course with our vision. If we falter in our match towards achieving our vision as a country, if we abandon our vision as a people, if we lack commitment to realization of our vision as a generation, the brighter future that we yearn for will slip through our fingers with disastrous consequences.

For 2010, therefore, my message to all public officials is that you must think honest, you must act honest and you must work honest. I want to see better results for the work you do. The public sector in any country is key to directing the development of that country, since government provides the policy direction and as such, we must have results for the work we are doing and the money we are spending.

Honestly, hard work, self-reliance and justice have been the ideals our forefathers lived for. Their resilience to maintain these values at all cost, even in the face of bleak circumstances and blatant injustice perpetrated against them by others had been phenomenal. Therefore, in the ways of live of our forefathers, we have lessons to learn from, as a country.

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia.

In my personal reflections especially on moving The Gambia forward, I have noted the opportunities we have as a country and the challenges we have to confront, to safeguard the well being and welfare of all Gambians. The reason we are the only country in the world call The Smiling Coast, is simple. We are a unique people, and we must celebrate that uniqueness, which is astoundingly reflected by the fact that we are a country that is closely related across all fronts.

As a champion of peace and social justice, I see this as an opportunity that heralds the values of justice, hard work peace and honesty, which have been the bedrock of our Gambian society. As a people, I see no significant differences amongst us, but a vast common ground to celebrate, to manifest and to build on for the progress of our motherland. In spite of political differences, we have to work together as a nation in order to achieve our national development aspirations.

Fellow Gambians and Friends of The Gambia

In fostering peace and stability in The Gambia, I would never compromise with criminals and detractors, whose main intention is to stall our progress as a country. Recently there has been a sharp increase in heinous crimes including murder, rape, robberies and other perpetrated within our borders.

The Gambia is a country that champions and practises the rule of law. We as a nation denounce violence in all its forms. My government will always maintain zero tolerance for people bent on wreaking havoc, instability and violence. We will apply the laws of this land to the letter.

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia

For the year 2010, which marks a decade to Vision 2020, I re-affirm that Vision 2020 is for real. It is practical, feasible and attainable. Therefore, we must achieve it and will Insha Allah. Henceforth I call for nothing less than more hard work and proper work ethics in the public service and honesty amongst public officials.

I firmly believe that it is only through hard work, commitment and honesty that we can achieve our development aspirations. For us to continue to live in dignity, self-esteem and prosperity, we have to rise up to the challenge to develop our nation and our continent.

It will be practically impossible to attain the level of development we aspire to as a nation if we do not sacrifice, change our attitude and work hard. This makes it necessary for us to disregard our political differences and unite for the betterment of our dear motherland in particular, and Africa in general.

A closer look at our society today reveals a destructive culture of laissez faire attitude prevalent particularly among our youth, which we need to fight tooth and nail. For instance, it is ironic to note that while some of our youth are prepared to go on perilous journeys across the seas to Europe, they are scared to venture into progressive endeavours like fishing, farming, carpentry, auto-mechanics etc to earn a descent livelihood. My government has invested heavily in all these sectors thereby providing ample opportunities for young Gambians who want to rise up to the challenge of nation building.

Fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia

Finally, I once again, reaffirm my strong commitment to transform The Gambia into an economic super-power; however, this will be contingent on the self-less sacrifice, hard work, patriotism and honesty of each and every Gambian. Therefore, let us resolve to unite and work together as one towards the achievement of this objective. With this message, fellow Gambians and friends of The Gambia, I wish all of us a very peaceful, successful and prosperous year ahead.

I also take this opportunity to announce a 20 per cent salary increase across the board effective 1st January 2010.

Long live The Gambia

Long live friends of The Gambia

Long live our partnerships with our friends and development partners.

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Baraqqtuhu.

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