From Beatrice Asamani, GNA Special Correspondent, Bakau, The Gambia
Bakau (The Gambia), July, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama and several African leaders on Thursday joined the people of The Gambia at a colourful parade mounted in Banjul as part of activities to mark 10 years of development under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh. Contingents of The Gambian Security Services, representatives of various women's groups, students and a number of associations took part in the parade, witnessed by a large crowd that filled the 30,000-capacity Independence Stadium at Bakau.
President Jammeh, who made a flamboyant entry into the stadium amidst cheers and the release of confetti, thanked the African leaders for their show of friendship, solidarity and unity. The Presidents of Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau attended the ceremony.
The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Omar Alpha Konare and high-level representatives from Swaziland, Rwanda, South Africa, Ethiopia and other African countries were present.
President Jammeh called for a united front to fight against "economic and viral terrorism" which were Africa's greatest enemies. He explained that unfair trade barriers imposed by powerful nations to impede the efforts of weaker nations to sell their produce in a fair and open market constituted economic terrorism.
"The lack of a level playing field in the international market for us to sell our goods is a form of economic terrorism that causes poverty."
President Jammeh said HIV/AIDS was a viral terrorism that threatened the survival of both powerful and weak nations and called for the intensification of efforts to combat the disease.
He commended his countrymen for enduring the hardships that were associated with the struggle for progress over the past years, saying that the success that had been achieved in infrastructure development; peace and stability were to their collective credit.
He appealed for continued peace and unity to move the nation forward and said with the discovery of oil in commercial quantities; the country was poised to achieve economic independence in the next 10 years.
He announced plans to build a modern railway system in the country. President Jammeh described his country as a superpower. "We are not a super power because of military might, but because of our hospitality, our ability to show love to our neighbours. We may be the smallest nation, but our humane values make us a super power."
The Gambia, which has a population of less than 1.6 million people, is the smallest African nation.
Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Harbours, Ports and Railways; Alhaji Rashid Bawa, Minister of State for Education, Youth and Sports; Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Abraham Ossei-Aidoo, Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament and Mr Justice Allan Brobbey, Chief Justice-Designate of The Gambia accompanied the Vice President. 22 July 04