Ahmed Manjang: My target was to Lecture at UTG but ended up at MRC Gambia
Ahmad Manjang is a native of Gunjur who had his first Degree in Microbiology from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom (UK) where he proceeded to the University of Manchester to pursue his Master’s in Medical and Molecular Biology.
Following the completion of his studies, Manjang worked for GR Micro, a research company and others in the UK for some years until 2006 when he decided to return home to the Gambia to serve his native country with the conviction that his skills and knowledge were highly needed by his people.
According to him, his decision to return to The Gambia in 2006 was met with tons of criticisms from friends and family, adding that some people even thought that he was crazy. However, Mr. Manjang finally came back with the intention of lecturing at the University of the Gambia (UTG) to help mold the next generation of Gambian Science and Medical students. To his surprise that never happened because the UTG offered him a job to lecture both at the School of Medicine and Biological Sciences but none of the Science Departments were willing to pay his salary.
“My return to the Gambia was encouraged by Dr. Tumani Kora and others.” he added.
However, Microbiologist Manjang was hired by the Medical Research Council for four years at Fajara as senior Scientist and was later posted in Basse where he worked for two years. Consequently, his second and last years in Basse never ended well as his life was being threatened by some individuals that he believed were State Operatives of the then government of Yahya Jammeh as his life was attempted several times.
He recollected that, at one point in Brikama West Coast Region, a driver from nowhere criss-crossed in front of his car and the driver later told him point blank that “if you are not careful we will end your life and nothing will come out of it“, saying few days before that his father was arrested at home and taken to Bamba-Dinka at the NIA headquarters in 2010. “I went to NIA to basically start a fire there.” Manjang stated.
The Gambian Scientist explained that, the threats were becoming frequent and people saw the danger especially his dad who was able to convince him to leave the country for his safety, an advice he accepted and took an international appointment to Saudi Arabia where he was serving till two weeks ago when he finally retuned back to his native Gambia again, this time he hopes to stay for longer.
Mr Manjang implored on Gambians in the Diaspora to return to the Gambia saying it is only Gambians who would develop this country claiming that the West belongs to other people just as the Gambia belongs to Gambians. He believes that, the country is rich and that it only needs visionary leaders and honest public officials or technocrats to develop the Gambia to an enviable status. “Europe was never like it is today few hundred years ago, Europeans built for themselves.” he noted.
Majang said that, the money that is already pumped into the Gambia for the coronavirus response is enough to transform the entire health sector for good if corruption and malfeasance by public officials weren’t the plague of the country saying building the Gambia doesn’t require ‘rocket science’ but only pragmatic leadership. “I am still eating fresh fruits straight from the trees in October, the country is rich.” he added.
On the 2016 coalition, the microbiologist and environmental activist said he cannot forgive the people who destroyed the coalition agenda as he believes it was meant to build a robust democratic system for the Gambia to leap into prosperity and good governance.