Eid festival opportunity for Jammeh to make some moneyBy BABOUCARR CEESAY in Banjul | Tuesday, August 21 2012 at 17:29
Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh celebrated the Eid el Fitr Muslim feast on Sunday like he always does. He advertised the sale of meat from his stock of cows.
He does this on the pretext of helping low income Gambians affected by hoarding of goods and high prices.
The President has a large herd of cattle and during Eid festivals he slaughters some and sells the meat to people.
Jammeh has other businesses ranging from a bakery, a slaughterhouse, a dairy farm and a safari lodge.
A provision in the 1997 Gambian constitution barred a sitting president from engaging directly or indirectly in trade, business or other profit-driven undertakings.
However, this provision was amended in 2006 when a Bill to that effect was tabled before parliament by the then Justice minister Sheikh Tijan Hydara.
The Bill was passed and assented to by President, clearing the way for him to get actively into business.
'Cut their tails'
In a televised speech marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, President Jammeh also warned that all condemned criminals currently in prison will begin to be executed starting September.
Jammeh, who appeared in military uniform, said there was no way his government would allow the population to be held to ransom by criminals.
He pledged to boost the security forces and the judiciary to ensure that all criminals face the full force of the law.
He said: “They tell me the death penalty is inhumane and degrading….but it is based on a judicial process. What do you say about somebody who sits in his house and decides that he doesn’t like another person’s face and takes his life?”
He stressed that the laws of Gambia will be passed by Gambians for the interest of Gambians and no one else, saying how the country enforced its laws or how the judiciary carried out its work was nobody’s business.
The Gambian strongman swore he will not accept any appeal from elders to forgive anyone who commits heinous crimes.
Another target of Jammeh’s ire was the Sunni Muslim group commonly known as Marrcass ul Dawa. He threatened to “cut the tails” of the group’s members who he accused of harassing other people’s wives because of their dress.
He warned he would not tolerate criminals hiding behind Islam to embarrass or harass others. “There is no compulsion in religion. It is up to the person to choose to go to paradise or to hell,” he said, adding that Prophet Muhammed did not go on a bombing spree to convince non-Muslims to join the faith but instead preached and persuaded them
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