Thursday, July 18, 2019

President Barrow yet to Deliver State of the Nation Address

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The new Constitution should be explicit as to when the President is to deliver a State of the Nation address. For decades in the first and second republic, people were misled to believe that the President opens parliament on an annual basis, during an address at the first session of parliament in the legislative year. This was called the State Opening of Parliament. For decades Foroyaa explained that this was a mistaken notion. Section 77 of the Constitution indicates that,

“The President shall at least once in each year attend a sitting of the National Assembly and address a session on the condition of The Gambia, the policies of the Government and the administration of the State.”

There is no time frame as to when the President should address parliament. However, the Jammeh administration used to do so during the first session of the National Assembly in the legislative year. The Barrow administration is yet to establish a standard as to when to address parliament during the legislative year.

One thing that is now clear is that the president has no mandate to open sessions of parliament on an annual basis. What the president has mandate to do is to present a state of the nation address annually. A new constitution should have a provision mandating the president to deliver a state of Nation address on an annual basis during the first sitting and session of a legislative year so that all the plans of a government in terms of the laws it would bring for enactment would be highlighted to enable the National Assembly to prepare its annual calendar of activities in a more concrete fashion. The nation is still awaiting the president to deliver his annual address. Foroyaa will find out when that will be.

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