EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: President Adama Barrow’s political adviser, Siaka Jatta said he is part of people who will always defend the Islamic religion, saying if he have the power, not even one mosque will be demolished in the country except if more is added.
Addressing a gathering at Qcity in Bijilo on Sunday, during a conference of Islamic religious and traditional leaders organised by a group called Concerned Citizens on Gambia’s draft constitution, Mr Jatta said no religion will be offended because it is religion that make and disciplines a person. He said it is religion that makes a person to be humbled and make a person what he will become tomorrow.
Earlier this month, leader of the Peoples’ Progressive Party (PPP) and one-time agriculture Minister, Omar Amadou Jallow suggested at CRC’s draft constitution consultation at West Field for a constitutional provision to ban the construction of Mosques in public places.
Mr Jatta said if Gambians accept woman to woman and man to man marriage, it will lead the country to somewhere that will not bring peace. “I am not speaking on behalf of the government but on my own behalf and on my personal thinking,” he said.
He said the draft constitution is not ready yet, saying the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is reaching people to gauge their opinion which is also not completed yet. “Everyone should add their opinion to it to take The Gambia forward and even the world. Anything in the constitution that we see as not good, we must make efforts to ensure that they are taken out from it.”
Both Christians and Muslims in The Gambia have launched campaigns for and against the inclusion of the word ‘Secular’ in the new constitution before and after its first release for public review.
Earlier this month, the country’s Christian organisations governing body –Gambia Christian Council- released a 20-point position paper that it observed as omission of secular and related matters in the country’s draft constitution and a week later, Islamic religion governing body –Gambia Supreme Islamic Council- also released its position on some three Sections of the draft constitution, including the debate for the inclusion of ‘secular’ in the draft constitution and the legal age for marriage.
Mr Jatta said when the consultation is completed, the draft will be taken to the cabinet for review then to the National Assembly where parliamentarians will also sit and review it and take out anything that they believe should not be in. “From there it will go to referendum where every citizens must participate.”
The political adviser encouraged Gambians to ensure that anything that will destroy religions or make children disbelievers and bring issues that people don’t want, whether religion or culture, they should all stand to tell people not to vote it at referendum.
But he said if what people want is all available in the constitution, they can vote for ‘Yes’ but if they are not there, they can vote for ‘No.’
“Our religious leaders want this country to go on the right path and for peace to maintain in the country, but we must all stand and tight our waists to take out from our cultures, traditions and religions the bad teachings that democracy is bringing in the country,” he said.
He said he will not be among people who will destroy the Islamic religion but he will participate along with people who will defend it, saying he will do this through either his voice, power, resource or time and will try to campaign the advocacy for what will be the progress of the country.