“Of course, I will like to become some day the president of my country. Not necessarily because of any other thing but because I am a citizen, I have worked for my country, I have a constituency, I have respect in my country and the knowledge I am gaining here is good to add an impetus into my academic knowledge, my academic standing and I have the commitment of my people to help my people. So I am going into politics not necessarily because I want something to gain but because I want to contribute to my people,” Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang said in a 2007 interview she had with the University of Bradford journal. Ms. Tambajang dropped out from her University studies. She was pursuing a Master’s Degree Program, but she never graduated.
“The assurance I will like to give to my people come the time would be that, there will be a tenure of office. I will never want to be president more than 10 years which is 2 terms. If my people say three years is a term of office, I will be there for six years. Even if they say one year is a term of office, it is unrealistic but I am just giving an example, to insist that I will not be there more than two terms because I belief if you cannot achieve in the first term of office, there is no way you can achieve in a second term. And we really need to advocate for democracy, genuine democracy where starting from the political leadership we would have a term of office then people would be more committed and have a practical agenda rather than perpetuating themselves. If you look at Africa today many of our political leaders come in grace and leave in disgrace. I don’t think that is worth it. You need to be a leader, be committed to your people, do what you are supposed to do, you can never finish it, leave the stage for other people to continue and I think I have the chance because today the world is talking about the empowerment of women,” she added.
“Liberia has done it and I see no reason why Gambia cannot do it. So with the help of Allah, the Almighty and with the support of my people, the Gambians and particularly the support of Africans and African women and some people that gender sensitive, I could become the president and would be one of the most efficient and effective presidents of Africa.”
Below is the full text of the interview.
An Arrey Ivo interview of Fatoumata Tambajang: former Gambian State minister of Health, Social Welfare and Women’s Affairs.
This interview was done in Bradford 2007 where Fatoumata Tambajang was studying at BCID, University of Bradford (2007) as a network initiative of the Director of the African Centre for Community and Development (www.africancentreforcommunity.com ) with important development stakeholders from Africa in order to buttress possibilities of African inter-governmental and civil society cooperation after they must have left the United Kingdom for development responsibilities in their various countries. It exists in video and rights of publishing and broadcasting can be acquired by contacting the African Centre for Community and Development in any of the above listed addresses. This interview throws depth and insight on possible in-roads to African Development and poverty reduction from an experienced field worker who has contributed beyond measurement, time, efforts and skills towards the development of a sustainable health system in the Gambia as well as for the empowerment of women and the reduction of poverty in Gambia and Africa as a whole. She also worked with important stakeholders like UNDP, African Development Bank, World Bank etc towards these goals and is respected for works by many including her classmates in BCID who ended calling her “Mama” to intimate her protective and caring nature. This will be her first ever revelation in the media of her which to become president of Gambia.
Talking with the Minister
Arrey Ivo: “Good evening”
Fatoumata: “Good evening”.
Arrey Ivo: “Who are you?”
Fatoumata: “Fatoumata Tambajang”
Arrey Ivo: “And you come from which country?”
Fatoumata: “I come from the Gambia. Post Graduate student, BCID, Bradford
Arrey Ivo: “Before coming here what did you do in your country?”
Fatoumata: “I did quite a lot of things, including working with the United Nations Development Programme. I also worked with the government briefly as State Minister of
Health, Social Welfare and Women’s Affairs and after so many years of practical work in the field of development I came to increase my knowledge and exposure and as you know the world is becoming more and more competitive and for women, we really need to have what it takes to work as partners with men in a male dominated world and Africa in particular”
Arrey Ivo: “So what are the health problems you think Africa is facing?”
Fatoumata: “Right now we have a number of health issues and some of them are basic. I think by this century if we had the commitment of our political leaders and the international community those things would have been addressed. Things like malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS…If you look around the world and Africa in particular the children are dying in their millions every day. If you also look at the infant and maternal mortality, it is increasing instead of decreasing despite all the efforts and the funding that international communities and governments are investing in those areas”
Continued here: Part 2