EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: President Adama Barrow’s office announced on Friday, that it will no longer conduct the usual airport ceremonies marking his movements in and out of the country.
This arrangement, according to a release from the presidency, is in line with ongoing reforms to optimise efficiency in the public service. By the same token, Guard of Honour will now be required only during State visits and special occasions.
The announcement came as the president takes off for the Russian capital of Moscow where he will participate in the first Russia-Africa Summit from 23rd to 24th October.
He however chose to be accompanied to the foot of the aircraft by only members of the security force.
“Effective immediately, seeing off the President at the Banjul International Airport shall be limited only to the Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector General of Police, and Director General of the State Intelligence Service,” a statement from the presidency indicated.
This announcement appears to serve as a renewal of Mr Barrow’s commitment to detach the public from his frequent travelling outside the country.
In December last year, he said he had excused members of the public from attending the traditional airports ‘chanting and dancing’ in his name effective January 2019.
“Going forward, seeing off the President at the Banjul International Airport shall be limited only to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Chief Justice, Cabinet Members, Chief of Defense Staff and other Service Chiefs and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps”, his office announced last year. although,
None of his instructions were put into practice, as the public mainly supporters continued to follow his long convoys to and from the Banjul International Airport in observance of his journeys in and out of the country.
Right from the first republic, presidential movements are heavily celebrated by the poor and the vulnerable who feel entertained by the locomotion of flashy cars, and military machines around town.
For the immediate former government, people in power had the obligation to mobilise mases from all over the country irrespective of the day and time, to add up to the number which was mainly of civil servants.