By Madi Jobarteh

There is need for more transparency on this Dubai trip.

Normally when any worker, more so the President is on an official leave, he or she does not engage in any official business – unless there is an urgent need or an emergency. Hence why would the President cut short his leave to embark on a foreign trip?

What was the urgency or the emergency? What is special about this trip such that the President cannot delegate the VP or cancel it altogether until he resumes office?

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Then, to announce that the trip is in fact canceled altogether requires more information. Citizens have the right to know the full details of this trip and now, why the cancellation.

No easy matter must take the President outside of the country. If it was indeed the Emir of Dubai who had extended an invitation to the President then citizens need to know who then cancelled the trip: is it the Emir or the President?

The State of The Gambia is not a private estate. It is not to serve a private interest. It’s a public institution created and mandated to promote and protect the interests of citizens. Hence how and where the Head of State takes that State is a matter of legitimate public interest.

Therefore I demand State House to shed more light on this so-called official visit to Dubai as to why was it canceled and who canceled it. In the first place, citizens must be told the purpose of this supposedly 5-day working visit to Dubai.

The State House press statement on its Facebook page last Thursday only said the visit was to “explore possible partnerships to promote and strengthen public-private partnership to enhance socioeconomic development”.

This is a very vague and open-ended statement. State House never announced what particular partnerships they will pursue. They never provided the list of officials and business people to accompany the President. Hence there is need for more information so that citizens know what is at stake in their name.

Be transparent!