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Construction of 60 mosques is a misplaced priority Mr. President!

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President Adama Barrow has said in his speech in Essau, North Bank Region on the first day of his 2018 Nationwide Meet the people’s tour, that he has secured funding for the construction of 60 mosques and 48 horticultural gardens across the country through a youth-initiative that seeks to enhance youth participation in national development.

Therefore I am of the view that the president has lost focus and does not even understand the immediate needs of the Gambian people in terms of development priorities. The proposed construction of the said 60 mosques is a misplaced priority as The Gambia is a secular state and not an Islamic state.

People of different religious backgrounds (Muslims and Christians), with different cultures and ethnic groups including non-believers all voted for President Barrow and the constitution that empowers him has made it very clear that The Gambia is a secular state.

Therefore, we are all equal in the eyes of the government and despite our bigger population as Muslims, we are not above the others in any way.

The construction of 60 mosques is not only a mislplaced priority but also a failure of President Barrow to protect and defend the Constitution that he swore to abide by in the execution of his duties as president.

He swore to execute his duties without fear or favour, affection or ill-will but if he constructs 60 mosques and fail to construct 60 Churhces, then he has failed in his promise because that means he will be unfair to the Christian community. Barrow should leave religious matters in the hands of the Supreme Islamic Council and the Gambia Christian Council. He should concretrate on his huge tasks.

It is one year and seven months since he assume office, yet Gambians are facing more and more difficulties every day.

There is lack of electricity and water, insecurity in the country, broad daylight robbery all over the country, women are being raped, prices of basic commodities are escalating everyday, the youths are unemployed and those in Europe and America are being deported, families are suffering and our democracy is still questionable, etc. Mr President, Gambians did not vote for you on religious basis.

Leave religious affairs in the hands of those responsible. We have a Ministry of Religious Affairs but NOT Ministry of Islamic Affairs. You should not take Jammeh’s style by changing this country into an Islamic state when other religions are here.

Imagine Mr. President, if you construct 60 mosques and you fail to do the same for the Christian community, how will your Cabinet colleague Christians Minister James Gomez and Minister of Education Claudiana Cole look at you?

President Barrow has lost focus and he must go back to the drawing board and cross check his proposed development projects for Gambians.

Thank you.

MC Cham Jnr, National Youth Mobiliser GDC.

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