17 September 2010

Gambia: President Jammeh Bags Four Awards

AllAfrica Editors' note: The veracity of this report has been challenged.

The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh was Thursday presented with four different prestigious awards from the International Parliament for Safety and Peace (IPSP) upon its various initiatives in the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany, during a presentation ceremony held at State House in Banjul.

Two of the awards with an accompanying letter came from the president of the United States of America, Barrack Obama, who congratulated the Gambian leader for the accolade, and also commended him "for helping to address the most pressing needs" in his community.

The awards include the 'President's Volunteer Call to Service Award', and the 'Platinum Award 2009 by President Barrack Obama'. The last two awards are the 'Admiral of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska', USA', given to the Gambian leader by its Governor, Dave Heinemana, whilst the fourth award, the 'Honorary Vocational Bachelors Degree' was given by the Printers and Publishers Guild of Northern Germany.

The four awards, according to IPSR officials, are mainly given to exemplary leaders and achievers in diplomacy, communal service, health and science. Receiving the awards, President Jammeh, who is the vice president and life senator of the IPSP, thanked the Almighty Allah for making it possible, while also commending the organisation [IPSP] for the awards and making his works known to other people.

In the same vein, he thanked his US counterpart, President Barrack Obama, as well as the governor of Nebraska and the Printers and Publishers Guild of Northern Germany for the awards. He described the accolades as surprising, saying little did he know that his achievements have been acknowledged outside.

The Gambian leader then reaffirmed his strong commitment to the cause of advancing humanity, while speaking extensively about his 'breakthrough' in the treatment and cure for the deadly HIV/AIDS, which is part of his humanitarian crusade. He recalled that when he announced the effective treatment for AIDS, he knew the type of 'hostile attention' he was attracting to himself and Gambians given the fact that "the AIDS pandemic has turned into a multi-billion dollars business for a lot of people including the NGOs at the detriment of the people".

He further recalled that at the start of the Presidential Treatment Programme, he received widespread scepticism both within and outside, especially from the pharmaceutical companies who waged a smear campaing against him. He noted with delight the fact that he has been vindicated, and that the results of those treated have been published on the internet for transparency.

He said: "Billions of dollars have been pumped into these so-called AIDS research; pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars on a monthly basis because of their various products, which were not subjected to the same scrutiny that my treatment was subjected to. But what is also interesting is the fact that all those pharmaceutical companies have never published their comprehensive practical results on the internet for the whole world to see.

All what they are saying is there are the ARVs and this is what they do and people accept it whether true or false. They accepted it without questioning. Now I am saying I am not giving anybody ARVs, all what I am doing is getting rid of the virus; and my treatment is free."

The president stated that he is not interested in amassing wealth, but to render service to humanity so as to salvage the people from the scourge of such a disease.

He noted that Allah's payment is more rewarding than that of anyone else, while stressing that he will never back off in the service of humanity regardless of what. While assuring that the awards serves as another source of challenge to him in the cause of human development, the president also commended Prof. Dr Holger Luettich, a member of the IPSP, who authored a book about The Gambia and its president entitled "The Gambia and its president on the road to a prospering future". He thanked Prof. Holger for the extensive research that chronicles the country and the undertakings of the president.

Also speaking at the occasion, the secretary general and head of the Civil Service, Dr Njogu Bah congratulated the president on the latest achievements, while also expressing profound gratitude to those who conferred the awards on him. While underscoring that it is always gratifying to see the efforts of the president being recognised, SG Bah declared that Gambians see the president as a patriotic, caring and "best chosen president of our country". He also commended the IPSP for perceiving him as a just, dynamic and spiritual leader.

The ministers of Basic and Secondary Education; and Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Fatou Lamin Faye and Lamin Kaba respectively, expressed similar sentiments. Speaking earlier, Ambassador Colonel George Rieff, designated ambassador of the IPSP to The Gambia, who presented the awards to President Jammeh, said they are honoured to have a true and genuine leader in the parliament, who he said, pursued peace not for his own good but for the good of mankind.

Rieff, who also at the same occasion presented his letters of credence to the president as the ambassador of the IPSP to the Gambia, underscored the president's achievements, and his concern and care for his people, noting that they are proud to rally behind him as IPSP?s vice president. He further described the president as a leader who is very famous in the world, while introducing Professor Holger's book that chronicles The Gambia and the achievements of the president, among them his HIV/AIDS breakthrough.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Dr Holger Luettich, member of the IPSP and the author of the book, said there emerged a young generation of leaders who gave hope, and that the most promising among them is without doubt President Jammeh, who he said could serve as a role model for the world. He spoke at length on the unique leadership qualities of the president, while commending him for his numerous development strides and accomplishments in the past 16 years.

Noting that poverty is the greatest stumbling block to socio-economic advancement, Dr Holger stressed the need for all peace-loving people and spiritual leaders to work for the uplifting of the poor and marginalised people in the society.

He hailed President Jammeh for being a leader who integrated spiritual leaders, academics and social scientists, and willing to develop the country with the sweat of his blood. Bai Matarr Drammeh, board member of the Jammeh Foundation for Peace also highlighted President Jammeh?s achievements.

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