Thursday, May 15, 2008
Thousands of Gambians thronged the streets of Serrekunda yesterday to receive President Yahya Jammeh, upon his return from the provinces, at the tail-end of his Dialogue with the People Tour.

The Banjul - Brikama Highway was lined with a huge crowd of Gambians and well wishers, as the presidential convoy drove through into Serrekunda, towards the Kanifing area. The President , visibly elated by the heroic welcome from the people, stood in his Hummer jeep, waving at the swelling, jubilant crowd of supporters, occasionally flashing them with broad smiles; an apparent expression of gratitude for their support.

As his convoy shuttled to Banjul, the Gambian leader was recieved with a similar tumultous wecome by the Banjulians, who had gathered from the Arch 22 all the way down to the July 22 Square and the entrance of the Sate House.

Reports say that in Brikama, both the young and the old had in no smaller measure thronged the highway to receive the president, after he had spent two weeks up country in fulfilment of what is a constitutional requirement.

During the course of the tour, pertinent issues cropped up throughout the president’s engagement with the people. Key among these were the looming global food crisis, with the price of a bag of rice at the top of the agenda. President Jammeh assured the people of his government’s commitment to protect the people against exploitation, warning against profiteering.

He informed the people that he had sealed a deal with major rice importers on the cost of a bag, the country’s stapple food, which he said must not exceed D800. This gesture freezes the bubbling panic among the masses, amid concerns that the retail prices might be heading to the north.

In the same vein, President Jammeh reminded the people of his clarion call for Gambians to go back to the land. The president had drummed up this issues on  countless occasions, having decided to take a bold initiative to lead by example.

He had cleared the fields at his home village of Kanilai and cultivated several crops on the vast land, besides venturing into livestocks rearing. In an attempt to entice Gambians into agricultural production, to attain food self-sufficiency, the Jammeh administration had initiated a number of programmes, notably Operation Feed the Nation and Operation Feed Yourself. But his call on Gambians to go back to the land has become more pronouced in the face of scarcity of food.

During the tour, the Gambian leader informed the people about the arrival of 500 tractors and several major development packages, including the tranformation of Farafenni into a modern city, the transformation of the warf of Kaur into a modern seaport and the construction of Sankulaykunda bridge.

As customary in the Dialogue with the People Tour, President Jammeh also inaugurated several development projects and informed the people of his government’s continuous dedication to their welfare.

As in the previous Dialogue with the People Tour, the president also listend to the cry of the people, which are considered to form the basis of his feature development initiatives for them. The Tour continues in the Kombos.

Author: by Ebrima Jaw Manneh