The Minnesota Gambian Association (MGA) in the United States has voted to extend the mandate of its executive body, tasked with the responsibility of stirring the affairs of the association for the next two years. According to a statement contained in a letter addressed to Jollof News, signed by Lamin Sabally of Minneapolis, MN, members of the Gambian community in the city of Minnesota converged in spectacular multitudes to renew the mandate of the executive in line with the bylaws of the constitution which sanctions the election of new heads after every two years. The letter states that the current mandate of the executive expires at the end of this January 2010 and that their new mandate takes effect right afterwards, at a ceremony to be determined in due course. ‘‘Gambians here, having proudly acknowledged the string of successes registered by what would have been an outgoing executive, have unsurprisingly voted overwhelmingly to extend the mandate of all but two members,’’ the letter reads. Accordingly, the officials who did not make it to the newly mandated executive had both humbly turned down their nominations to serve further terms. ‘‘So the election, presided over by Yero Jallow, one of the editors of Gainako Newspaper, simply saw the reinstatement of the executive headed by Wuyeh Sannneh, with the election of a handful new members as replacement of the retiring few members of the outgoing executive.’’ Alkali Yaffa, the outgoing Secretary General, has been elevated to vice president, replacing Rtd Major Pa Modou Ann who, prior to the Election Day, reportedly declared his intension not to be part of the next executive. The letter noted that Mr Ann refused to be nominated to either retain the vice presidency or any other position. According to the letter, he ‘‘understandably ascribed his decision to decline to reasons linked to his graduate studies which can be exponentially daunting by all indications especially for those with family responsibilities.’’ Lamin Sabally, former Assistant Communication Officer for the Gambia’s Electoral Commission was elected the new Secretary General of MGA. Sabally, according to the statement, used to be a broadcaster and Journalist with the defunct Citizen FM radio and New Citizen newspaper in Gambia. He also served as a staff reporter for the state-owned Gambia Daily newspaper (now Gambia Info), both as State House and Parliamentary Affairs reporter, and as a staff reporter for US based online newspaper, allgambia.net. ‘’Sabally said he grudgingly accepted the nomination and was propelled into eventually accepting it because of the many successes made by the Gambian Association in Minnesota,’’ the statement said. The letter went on to list some of the successful projects realized by the association as including the successful shipment and delivery of over 35 thousand books procured for Gambian schools through Book for Africa Program, part of which shipment was sponsored by Money Gram. There is also an Adult Literacy Programme said to be benefiting many members of the Gambian community in Minnesota, especially with regards to normalization of immigrant status, vis-à-vis the acquisition of US citizenship status. ‘‘Classes being offered cover citizenship tests spread around US history, Geography and politics, writing and speech,’’ the statement added. New mosque for Minnesota Gambia Islamic Society. In a related development, the letter went on, the Gambia Islamic Society in Minnesota has procured its own mosque and had it maiden Friday congregation prayer there last Friday, January 22 2010. The mosque, formally named Masgid Al-Iklass, had been under the distinguished stewardship of Imam Dr. Hamdi, an Egyptian – American University lecturer and Islamic scholar who vacated the place after having procured a newly built temple-turned mosque, which can house over one thousand worshippers. ‘‘This mosque, now owned by the Gambian community in this cold mid-western state, has been a “Darra” (Islamic school) for over fifty children born to Gambians in Minnesota. A good number of these kids have a fairly good memorization of the Holly Qur’an, thanks to the efforts of some brilliant Gambia “Oustases” (Islamic teachers), including Kawsu Darboe, Kawsu Touray, Nfamara Ceesay and Sister Mona, a native of Egypt,’’ the message read. ‘‘The efforts of this dedicated teaching staff have been complimented by some icons of the community including Omar Sanneh, Lamin “Dutokoto” Dibba and Yuspha Manneh.’’ Online newspaper AllGambia.net quoted ‘‘unassailable sources’’ as saying Oustas Malik Dibaga, said to be a Saudi-educated Minnesota-based Gambian scholar, has been appointed Imam of the mosque, to be assisted by ‘’a rising star’’ scholar and preacher, Kawsu Darboe, as the Deputy Imam. Kawsu Darboe reportedly led multitudes of worshippers comprising Africans, Asians, Americans and Middle Eastern Muslims during the maiden Friday congregational prayers at the mosque.