Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mr Kebba Dibba of GRTS as part of events marking the 20th anniversary of ascension to power, President Jammeh, 49, stated: “We can never afford to play with corruption because it is a type of cancer that is very deadly and that is why we are setting up a new commission and expanding the hotel (Mile 2 Prison). Just yesterday I approved the new anti-corruption commission. I did not want to say this but yes, a request has been made yesterday for the approval of the anti-corruption commission and the head of the commission to be appointed. Of course, there is no way I will allow corruption. There is zero tolerance on corruption, drugs, rape, and murder. Even if you have massive resources and you allow corruption, these massive resources would enrich a few people who would trample upon others, become lords in this country and their children would enjoy to the detriment of the masses. It is not going to happen. Why do you think we are arresting people that we dismiss now? We will not let you go with whatever that you have stolen, you will pay for it and let you go to start from scratch.
“Corruption is a no-go area and ‘Operation No Compromise’ is still intact. If it is strong yesterday, it is stronger today and it is being implemented to the letter. That is why when I fire somebody, I just do not let you go home but we take away what you have taken that does not belong to you and then deal with you in a court of law. When you encourage corruption and nepotism, indiscipline comes in. With indiscipline, drugs also comes in and then set your country on fire. I am not going to condone or tolerate corruption but I would rather die. If you take anything in a corrupt manner, count your days but you will go to jail. You will pay a higher price for it. By the grace of Almighty Allah, if I do not see you, He will. When you take an oath, you always say help me God and not help me the president. So if you’re stealing and I get you, go to God not me because I will not have mercy on you.”
Unimpressed by agriculture
President Jammeh further declared that since 1994, his government has spent more than US$100 million on agriculture in the last two decades but the sector could not show very little for it. He said part of this was as a result of corruption and poor policy implementation by agriculture officials.
“We have to have a significant paradigm shift in the way we implement agricultural projects because we used to have small-holder projects and then there are some crooks going around as project managers…. unpatriotic people going around driving expensive cars, attending expensive workshops, drinking coffee and the project does not go anywhere. Can you believe and I will repeat, from 1994 to date, I will not talk about from Jawara’s days, I am talking about my time, all the money spent on agriculture which is more than a hundred million dollars we have not developed with the officials and ministries concerned even one thousand hectares in 20 years! It was all about putting red wine in old bottles and each time a bottle breaks, there is no replacement. Instead of going forward, we are going backwards. So in terms of land development, I have to be honest, Jawara’s agricultural land development was better than ours. And most of what was developed by Jawara was being lost to these crooks [corrupt agriculture officials]. I thought it was not possible but during the tour, CRR alone has more than 200,000 hectares that we can use for agriculture especially rice production and 90 percent of that is fresh water. Vision 2016 is achievable but it is the attitude. We can even achieve it in 2015. What will make me change and God forbids is if we do not have a good harvest which is not likely. By December 31, 2015, even if you have placed an order [rice shipment] and it is not here by December of this date, it is not coming into this country by January 1, 2016. The import ban comes into force in January 1, 2016.”
President Jammeh also talked about other issues. See our subsequent editions.]]>