President Yahya Jammeh, who was scheduled to preside over the State Opening of Parliament on Thursday, decided to snub the occasion. Ironically, Mr. Jammeh’s office failed to provide justifiable reasons thus throwing the public into total confusion characterised by murmurs.
Parliamentarians, diplomats and members of the public gathered at the National Assembly building in Banjul and waited for President Jammeh to show up for the 2016 State Opening of Parliament. After several hours of waiting in vain, Mr. Jammeh did not show up, leaving everyone wondering about the reasons for his absence or no-show.
Hours later, the Speaker of House Abdoulie Bojang informed the public about the event’s cancellation. He, however, failed to dilute confusion in a country where majority of people rely on rumours to feed their souls. Mr. Bojang, who admitted he was not in control over the news, only said the program has been “postponed until further notice.” Gambians are at pain with their government’s failure to tell them the reasons for the abrupt cancellation of such a very important national program.
President Jammeh’s unexplained absence has also thrown parliamentarians of both sides – opposition and ruling party – into total confusion. The Majority Leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta who used the Daily Observer newspaper to appeal to the public to attend the event was also disappointed.
Also pissed off with Mr. Jammeh’s no-show was the Minority Leader. Samba Bah blamed the executive branch for unnecessarily wasting taxpayer’s money.
“Something must definitely be wrong with President Jammeh,” our Banjul source said. “He has been playing games on several occasions – mostly trying to make us believe that the country is faced with security concerns. I think this time around he has a real issue at hand. But it will come to light no matter how long it takes,” he said.
Some sources linked Mr. Jammeh’s absence to sickness. Kairo News is trying to corroborate this version of the story.
This is the first time in history that any sitting Gambian president would be absent in the State Opening of Parliament.
The State Opening of Parliament, which officially marks the beginning of the Legislative Year, is a constitutional requirement that allows the president to highlight the government’s development programmes and policies before lawmakers. It also gives him the opportunity to showcase the government’s achievements and shortfalls for the past year.