President Yahya Jammeh has vowed to make good on his promise of legally turning The Gambia into an Islamic State in the 2016 legislative year.
The Gambian leader has declared his country an Islamic State late last year but the country remained under its secular constitution.
“Before I begin with the economic situation of the country, I wish to reiterate the declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic republic. In this connection, a piece of legislation will soon be tabled before the National Assembly to begin the process of its implementation,” Jammeh said as he opened the country’s National Assembly on March 31.
“Let me hasten, however, to assure you that the declaration of an Islamic State does not mean that other religion will be suppressed… For us (Muslims), however, we will be governed by the laws based on the divine dispensation of Allah… which is Shari-ah, based on the Holy Quran…”
The Gambian has come under heavy criticism from opposition leader after declaring his country an Islamic State who accused him of an attempt to overthrow the secular constitution of the country.
“I am ready to die to defend the secular status of this country,” Omar Jallow, leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party told Torchongambia.
And though President Jammeh said his declaration won’t change anything in the country, opposition fear it might mark the beginning of the end of religious tolerance in The Gambia.
Anti gay rights
The Gambian leader has also reiterated his resistance to any power seeking to pressure his government into accepting gay rights in his country.
Jammeh said he won’t allow any activity of homosexuality in The Gambia.
“I have more pigs than anyone in this country, from Koina to Kartong, and I have not seen one pig homosexual. So when you are called a pig, you should be proud…,” he said.
I will rather die than accept it and those who want to perpetrate it in this country; they will be dealt with mercilessly.”
The Gambia leader also announced that the African Petroleum, a US oil company that holds two Gambian prospective oil blocks, is in the process of starting to drill this year.
Gambia is believed to have oil and it give two licenses to Camac Energy, now Erin Energy and African Petroleum.
Jammeh also said the Erin Energy formerly called Camac Energy has just finished it 3d seismic survey in the two prospective oil blocks it holds.
The country’s neighbours, Senegal, discovered oil in 2015.
However, Jammeh said his government has not drilled the country’s oil because of the unfavourable price that oil exploration companies asked of them.
“We won’t take 5 cent for every dollar on our oil… If I had wanted, we would have drilled our oil long time ago but for every dollar, Gambia would have been having 5 cent…,” he said.
Jammeh also announced he will establish the national human right commission and anti corruption commission in 2016.
He however warned severe consequences for people who might want to use the anti corruption commission for witch-hunt or settling scores with other people.
Jammeh said the security in Mali deteriorated because fellow leaders refused to listen to him when he was advocating for military intervention.
“They are telling me that France and America said they don’t want military intervention… what is their business? This is Africa,” he protested.
“If we have intervened and flushed out these criminals and disarm them, we would not have had this situation…”
Reparation for slavery and colonialism
The President also vowed his government will table a resolution before the United Nations to advocate for reparations and unconditional apology for slavery and colonialism for Africans from colonialists and slave masters.
Last year the National Assembly of The Gambia has adopted a resolution denouncing slavery and colonialism as “crimes against humanity and genocide”.
The move was though unpopular among opposition who described it as an attempt by the regime to distract the people from pressing economic, social and political issues.
Jammeh also vowed he will consistently fight what he called West’s destabilizing policy in Africa.