The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Babili Mansa Tuesday presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed secretary general, head of the Civil Service and Minister of Presidential Affairs; as well as the Minister of Youth and Sports, at State House in Banjul.
The newly sworn-in SG and minister were Musa Jallow and Dr. Johnny Gomez, who took three different oaths of office, secrecy and allegiance.
They pledged their resolve to execute the functions of their various offices without ‘fear or favour,’ affection or ill-will.
In a similar development, the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy presided over the swearing of the newly appointed minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Seedy SK Njie at the State House on Tuesday afternoon.
In his statement, President Jammeh thanked the duo for accepting to join the cause of national development.
He acknowledged that they have daunting challenges. “I must congratulate you as well as convey my appreciation and gratitude for accepting a very daunting challenge.”
He went on : ‘‘The civil service is no easy matter because up to now the issue of civil service reform is in process – training of critical mass, building capacity and of course ensuring that the attrition rate is cut to make sure that the civil service and civil servants live to enjoy the fruit of their labour. “We are constrained by resources but my objective is to make the civil service and service in The Gambia government so lucrative that no one would want to leave the public service.”
For the new minister of Youth and Sports, President Jammeh said the rationale for his appointment is the fact that sports is his way of life and he is conversant with all the problems facing Gambian sports. He added that the Sports minister would have the difficult but also the noble task of reuniting Gambian youths and redecorating the spirit of sportsmanship and sportswomanship, and reviving of sports in general.
He advised the new Sports minister to build confidence and mutual respect within all the institutions that are under the Ministry of Youth and Sports and at personal level.
The President further stated : “We have seen in the past years our dismal performance in our football at a time when most countries would fear meeting The Gambian Scorpions – they will start well and end up negatively. We have seen one problem after the other and enough is enough.”
“We have seen disastrous failures in programmes that were meant to help the youth ; we have seen the erosion of confidence between the Ministry and the GFF and let me make it very clear that the GFF is not opposed to Gambia government, but an arm of The Gambia Government with specified responsibilities. Unless the Minister of Youth and Sports and GFF president and staff work together, sports will not do overwhelmingly in the country especially football,” said The Gambian leader, whose government has continued to invest hugely in the development of sports and football in particular.
He reminded the new appointees to believe in Allah, be open and to be open-minded as they execute their work.
Programmes that were meant to help empower the youth, according to President Jammeh, all ended up in only organising workshops and what he calls ‘fake training programmes’, something he would want to see reversed. “We want to see programmes and projects that empower the youth of this country. We want to see at the end of any project the participants of that project are able to stand on their own and become productive citizens of this country,” he noted, citing the NYSS Agricultural Programme, which he said is just a shadow of its former glory.
This and many other programmes, he emphasised, need to be rebuilt, which requires patience by the new minister. According to him, his government is and would continue to do its best to create the enabling environment for all the youth to become productive citizens of the world.
He made it clear that his government would not accept any project meant to organise only workshops.
President Jammeh urged the newly appointed government officials to do what is right and fear no one but the Almighty Allah who shall judge everyone by his or her deeds. “You are not serving me but the Gambian people and yourself. So, fear Allah, have faith, serve honestly, diligently and with zeal.”
Speaking earlier on, the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy congratulated the newly sworn in SG and Youth minister and their families. “The enabling environment in the office is one thing, but support from your families and the Gambian people is yet another, including colleagues in cabinet.”
Madam Njie-Saidy reminded the new secretary general and Youth & Sports minister to always bear in mind the oaths they have taken.
She informed the new secretary general and head of Civil Service of the busy nature of his office, hence the importance of the office and hopes he would deliver to the expectations of every Gambian.
Dr. Aja Fatou Lamin Faye, minister of Basic and Secondary Education thanked President Jammeh for appointing the duo, while assuring them of cabinet colleagues’ support at all times.
She reminded them of the challenges ahead, which she said, are not insurmountable. “The President has appointed you because he has confidence that you will be able to deliver the goods to The Gambian people. His Excellency will not appoint anyone and just leave you. He (the President) guides everyone and be assured that the whole cabinet will support you,” she told the new appointees while urging them to live by the oaths they have sworn to, both in and outside office.
The new SG, head of Civil Service and minister for Presidential Affairs, Musa Jallow, a trained civil engineer, who had wide experience in management and governance said he was honoured and proud to serve his country.
According to him, he has come to add value to the ongoing developments by the Jammeh administration.
For his part, Johnny Gomez, the new minister of Youth and Sports said he is ready and prepared to serve his country and President Jammeh, who he said, has not disappointed Gambians. He said President Jammeh is very committed to the welfare of Gambians and committed to putting Gambia on the world map.
He noted that he has always believed in President Jammeh and his leadership style and qualities.
by Alieu Ceesay