Gambia – Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh Thursday failed to address the pressing challenges confronting the impoverished West African nation.

He spoke during the state opening of Gambia’s parliament.

In a written and sometimes off-the-cuff speech, Dictator Jammeh ignored issues of economic mismanagement, tribalism and the human rights abuses which are all hallmarks of his administration.

Mr Jammeh instead began by saying that this year’s event is special in that it is final legislative year of his current mandate and that of the National Assembly Members.

He said 21 years of his ruinous reign has “proven that if you believe in the Almighty Allah and if you put your faith in Him, you will succeed no matter who doesn’t want you to succeed.”

On the declaration of Gambia as an Islamic state, Dictator Jammeh said a bill will be tabled before the National Assembly to begin its implementation.

Quoting a verse in the Quran that there is no compulsion in religion, he said other religions will be suppressed.

But he went on to mock Gambian Christians by saying they are Islamic as they worship only God and do not ascribe partners to Him.

Mr Jammeh also contradicted himself when he said he is a man of tolerance.

This runs contrary to his ongoing crackdown on perceived opponents and the media in Gambia.

Attacking critics and political opponents, Yahya Jammeh said these are enemies of progress.

He said he achieved whatever he achieved through God.

He said the opposition in Gambia are up to no good as they did not build a single road or hospital during his 21 years in power.

In an election year, Mr Jammeh invaded the minds of Gambians with propaganda as he hailed his government over insignificant feats.

He said his government has built schools, hospitals, roads and other development infrastructure – something colonialists and First Republic president Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara could not do.

But poverty is widespread in Gambia and Dictator Jammeh, during the speech, did not give any clear roadmap on how his government would help Gambians to bottom out of poverty.

He also downplayed the poor state of Gambia’s economy saying that it is showing signs of recovery.

Written By Our Correspondent

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