Addressing a recent gathering at State House during the presentation of an award handed to The Gambia for progress in fighting hunger, he said: “When you have a new building you want the new wife to be there, not the one who built your family and have children for you. Don’t you know that one of those children can be a president tomorrow? Then you will start saying, ‘I am the father!’ Even if you curse that son, it will not come to pass because he worked for it. What is happening in The Gambia is unIslamic and all these evil practices are among us, who call ourselves Muslims. It is not going to happen. As long as I am the leader of this country, I am ready to die for that. When your daughter is going to school, you never wanted to pay school fees. All of a sudden you see a rich man and you say: ‘You are a good man. You are a Muslim and my child is disciplined. I will give her to you for the sake of Allah’. You think God is a fool? When she was going to school, you did not care for her and you did not even buy what she used to wear. How can you give her away like a dog? Even for a dog, if you want to give it away and you have never taken care of it, the moment it sees you coming, it will run away. That is why I keep animals; you learn a lot from animals. The wife says no and you say: ‘You want to drive a wedge between me and my child. I am the one who fathered her and I can give her away.’ That will not happen in this country. Forced marriages will not be tolerated in this country. I have made a pledge to liberate all Gambians, more so the Gambian women, that are still being treated badly.
“Also you the religious leaders: put your houses in order. It is said in the Qur’an that a man is the household leader, but it doesn’t make you a king and your wife a slave. Just because you don’t want to be asked even for fish money, you stay away. When they ask you, you say: ‘Go to your mother, she has gone to sell at the market’. What were you doing when your wife was selling at the market? Let Muslim men in this country know what the Qur’an and Islam is all about”.
President Jammeh added: “Allah is going to judge all of us. If positions are an exemption, then I wouldn’t be praying. Being the president is the highest position but I pray because I know I will be judged. All of you also are going to be judged. And as religious leaders, fear only the Almighty Allah, not even the president. You have a duty towards others; they look up to you to tell them the truth. [When you approach] your wife and she says no for a reason, you go to the imam and he tells you the shar’iah says you can marry four wives. But there are conditions. If the first wife is going to stay next to the kitchen in a room that is fit for cockroaches only and the new wife lives in the mansion, then it is no. You say, ‘Don’t you know I asked one cadi, he said I can have four wives’. Ask him whether the cadi told him the conditions. Some of us now target women who are working. Four wives – half of their salaries and you don’t even have a home. You float like a leave from one compound to another. This is a disaster in this country. That is why we have entrenched poverty in this country. In those days, women used to target people with money, now we the men target women with money especially those with businesses…
“I am very grateful to the Almighty Allah that it is during my time that Gambians have four-five star hotels, especially women. When we were going to school up to 1994, all the tailoring workshops were owned by Senegalese. Today, most of the tailoring shops are owned by Gambian women, not a man! If this trend continues, five years from now, women will be driving very expensive cars and then you start blaming the president for empowering women. If you are not grateful to the people, you can never be grateful to Almighty Allah. It is in the Qur’an. I don’t want to go to hell. If I am not grateful to Gambian women, then I have betrayed the Almighty Allah who gave me Gambian women to support me all the way. On this note I once again pledge to eradicate hunger in this country by 2016 and to eradicate poverty by 2020 because that is what Vision 2020 is all about”.]]>