Transcribed by Alh. Saikou B. Nyassi Below is the speech delivered verbatim by President Yahya Jammeh at the July 22 anniversary held in the capital city of Banjul: “Your Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of the Gambia, Your Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of the Gambia, Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, My Lord Chief Justice, Honourable Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Cabinet Ministers, Honourable Ministers of Sister African Countries here present, Honourable Members of the National Assembly, Delegate from the Russia Federation, Party chiefs, Delegates from the sister African countries, Members of the Diplomatic and Counselor Corps, Senior government officials, the Governors, the Lord Mayor, the Paramount Chief and his Council of Elders, our host the Lord Mayor of Banjul, Honourable Religious Leaders, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and all those who are present here, all protocols respectively observed. As opposed to what the M.C said, I have already addressed on television, … is to thank all of you, boys and girls, teachers, the parents, all the arms of security services here present and of course, our distinguished friends, distinguished guests from all over the world, especially from the United States of American, from the Russian Federation and from other African countries. I also thank you for your presence, your presence in our midst is very important because it is the smiling coast, where every smile is genuine, it is the most peaceful country on earth, it is the most tolerant country on earth. Since the July 22nd revolution, as true Muslims and Christians, we welcome all of Allah’s creation as brothers and sisters, our smiles are genuine and that is why we are the smiling coast of Africa, we welcome you all and we want to thank you for your presence. On another note, 21 years is not 21days, or 21 months, or 21 weeks, 21 good years, two decades one year. I took over this country when I was 29years old, today I am 50. Don’t clap because you don’t know what I am going to say next. I have a very important announcement to make that is the reason why I am standing here. As Muslims, and as good Christians, the Holy Quran taught us about forgiveness, and the prophet (SAW) has demonstrated forgiveness even during the time of the true jihad, big criminals, disguising as Muslims, killing people, innocent people in Mosques, churches, and in places of commerce. Islam has nothing to do with that. Islam is a religion of tolerance; Islam is a religion of forgiveness and total devotion to the Almighty Allah. In the Christian religion, at least I know the Catholic Bible, Jesus Christ said, if they slap you on one cheek, give them the other. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can do that. If you slap me on one cheek I will warn you, if you want to slap me on the other I will stop you, and if I am hit, I will also slap you. But at the end of this week, from 1994 to date, in my administration, many have committed various offences, some of which are capital offences. If I don’t forgive, then I am not a good leader. I believe in the Almighty Allah, I have sworn here on several occasions that there are certain crimes I will not forgive. I read the Quran every time and I also read the Bible and on each chapter of the Holy Quran, Allah has emphasized forgiveness and in every chapter of the Bible, He also emphasizes forgiveness…. If we don’t forgive each other, how would the Almighty Allah forgive me as a leader of this country? On this note, I urge those concerns to take note because I will not repeat; all those convicted of Treason from 1994 to 2013 and are on death row, or serving life sentences, are hereby pardoned. This has created a rapturous clap and ovation. As from today, all those convicted of murder and had served 10 years and above are hereby pardoned, Long ovation! except three cases that I know of, the cannibal who murdered a woman on a farm in the Kombos, chopped her body to pieces and ate some of it, that person I will never forgive.” The second one is regarding one Ayatollah, a Hydara, who shot his first wife and wanted to eliminate all the children of the first wife, because both the first wife and her children are opposed to the old man taking a 17 year old girl as his second wife and treated her better than the mother of his family. He shot the wife in cold blood and was hunting the rest of the family in the village, only the Almighty Allah saved them, that one I will never forgive. Violence against women and children, I shall never forgive. All those found guilty of infanticide, I will never forgive them, I will never pardon them. In fact I have made it very clear that If you deliver a child that you don’t want, you have SOS Children’s Village, or come to State House and hand over the baby to the guards. We will not even ask you where you come from, we will take care of the child. If you decide to kill them, there will be no forgiveness for you. A fourth group is a group of people who also killed a British citizen, stabbed his body seventy one times, killed him in his own car, walking on the highway, ran over him and attempted to dump his body. Such type of evil people will never be pardoned. All those who have been convicted of possession of Cannabis, especially all the young people, except repeat offenders, are hereby pardoned. Those convicted of Trafficking, or Terrorism, and they have served three years and above are hereby pardoned, except repeat offenders. For hard drugs, why not hard drugs? All those who have served five years and above for cocaine, and other hard drugs, they are forgiven. But be it murderers, drug traffickers, or if anybody has been convicted of rape, if the person he raped is 20 years and above, he is pardoned. I mean those convicted from 2013 backwards. Anybody who has raped a child would serve the full sentence, and I say there will be no mercy for such offenders. Now, in as much as we welcome everybody, irrespective of your colour, your race, your religion, or wherever you come from, or your culture, we know that we are the creation of the Almighty Allah, and the beauty of humanity lies in our diversity. But all those convicted, who are foreigners, especially of murder; rape, drug trafficking, armed robbery, they must be deported immediately and all the people I talked about must be released not later than Friday prayers. I wish you all the best. Thank you. ….and a few of them from the diaspora countries, they lied for 21 years because we have been progressing. They are liars. I forgive all of you, whether they lied, or ran away, or escaped from a coup plot, you are all pardoned.”]]>
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