The long expected address of the nation by the president has taken place. It is still a surprise why the national broadcaster continues to refer to this address as state opening of parliament. The end of the president’s address also gives the same impression. This is why Foroyaa is focusing on this issue so that tradition will not take precedence over law.
The speech of the president will be serialised so that the state of the nation in the perception of the executive and legislature will be clear to the public. It is however important for our readers to know the origin and essence of the address as far as the constitution is concerned. The National Assembly is correct to call the address the state of the nation address and not state opening of parliament. The state broadcaster should also take note, otherwise it will be guilty of misinforming the public.
The president relied on section 77 to address the national assembly. The provisions of section 77(1) reads:
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.
This has nothing to do with state opening of parliament. This is how matters stand. We will follow on the address given by the president as National Assembly members give their own assessment of what the president said.