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May 25 should be a public holiday

Madi Jobarteh

I have just been made aware that the Government of The Gambia has announced that tomorrow May 25 is not a public holiday! Why?

The Office of the President would do itself good if it had looked at the National Assembly records for a motion in 2009 when NAMs conferred power on the President to declare May 25 a public holiday. The mover of the motion at the time, Speaker Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay made reference to the African Union history and declaration to the effect that 25 May 1963 should be officially observed by member states following a call by the continental body.

The AU itself has since 2002 made May 25 a holiday. Since then several African countries have also made May 25 a public holiday by law. In 2009, The Gambia followed suit by a motion of the National Assembly to make the day a holiday.

Thus May 25 is a legally recognized holiday in The Gambia. Therefore on what basis did The Gambia Government refuse to mark May 25 as a public holiday?

Even if this Government did not wish to observe the day legally then they must go back to the National Assembly to either revoke that decision or cause a new motion to be laid before parliamentarians in order to override the existing one.. Without that the President’s refusal to declare May 25 a public holiday is contempt of the National Assembly.

But it would still be ridiculous not to mark the day because The Gambia is a member of the African Union hence it cannot refuse to observe May 25.

I therefore call on the Speaker and all NAMs to summon the President for his blatant disregard of the National Assembly, which is a treasonous offense!

May 25 is a day that all Africans must observe as a major milestone in our struggle for liberation and dignity! This day should be observed to recall the very history and experiences of our people and to assess how far we have come. It is a day to hold our governments and leaders accountable as well as hold each other accountable, as individual citizens and collectively.

Finally i hope on the occasion of Africa Liberation Day, Pres. Adama Barrow will make a fitting statement in its honour!

For a fitting ALD celebration come to UTG Law Faculty tomorrow at 9am for a serious conversation. I will be presenting on leadership and Pan-Africanism. Don’t miss it!

Africa Must Be Free! By any means necessary…

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