By Our Western Division Correspondent
Wise Man, Banjul. Paid for and
Commissionedby the Freedom Newspaper.

Highly placed sources close to the office of the President in Banjul have exposed ongoing moves to marginalize deserving Gambian students from a Presidential scholarship, which was earmarked for 300 students to further their studies overseas. According to these sources in the heart of Jammeh‘s government, plans were afoot to redirect the said scholarships to the Fonis and families who extend political support to the Ruling APRC Government. Already, the newly appointed Inspector General of police Brenard Jammeh and the Foni Kansala National Assembly Member Abba Sanyang have  been delegated to collect the certificates of about 200 youths in the Fonis in a bid to facilitate their overseas studies. State House sources said these students were compensated for spearheading  “no oppose in some localities in the Fonis in the last Presidential and Parliamentary elections, even though an Independent candidate succeeded in winning a seat in that pro government region of the Gambia. The Jammeh scholarship Trust Fund as it is called,  covers a wide range of  disciplines, with special emphasis on Science, Medicines, Engineering, and Agriculture would commence in September 2007.

A Presidential directive indicates that students who successfully completed their grade 9, 12  and had actively participated on the party’s youth action group political activities would benefit from the said overseas scholarship program. This followed an announcement made by the office of the President last week that training opportunities would  be accorded to  young talented Gambians to study in Universities and Colleges abroad. The statement also says similar educational programs would be conducted at local level.

Out of  the three hundred students, who hoped to benefit from the said scholarship program,  sources said about two hundred students would come from the Fonis. Applicants are also  required to provide proofs of Gambian citizenship, authentic academic results to back up their applications. Many here are wondering how come that people from the Fonis are being exempted from such scrutiny. A Presidential Committee has been set up to conduct background checks on some of the applicants before they can be admitted in the said scholarship program. Applicants whose families opposed the regime of the day are likely to be disqualified, said a  source close to the President.

Insiders at the state house press office confirmed the story to the Freedom Newspaper. They lamented that it was unfortunate that the scholarships were being hijacked by  IGP Jammeh and the Foni Kansala MP without any justified reasons. The insiders however, could not confirmed if the two had the backing of the President to take most the scholarships in the Fonis.”The whole issue has been politicised. Some of these students are not fit to read overseas. They were selected because of their support for the government. Lets wait and see what will come out of this.”said an insider at the state house press office.

Some students interviewed by the Freedom Newspaper said they were not surprised by the said move taken by the government to redirect most of the scholarship in the Fonis. In view of these developments, the aggrieved students have vowed to renounce their support for Jammeh and his APRC government.

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, June 26, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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