For years now, there have always been some issues on when to celebrate the Eid (both Adha and Fitr) in The Gambia.
Many a time, a section of the country will celebrate it on one day and the other section, the next day.
In fact, the former president, Yahya Jammeh, made a proclamation that whoever does not celebrate it on the same day as that of the State (through the Supreme Islamic Council) would be arrested.
This led to many Imams being arrested and incarcerated.
Now that there is a democratic government, those tactics are no longer at the disposal of the State.
Thus, the problem has resurfaced; in fact, more so and it is affecting the way work is done in the public sector.
Take for instance, this year’s Tobaski which was celebrated on Sunday, 11th August in many parts of the country but; on Monday 12th August, in other parts.
The president of the republic declared Monday a public holiday and those who prayed on Sunday could have one day off.
But those who prayed on Monday didn’t have that one day as Tuesday was a working day.
If someone had gone to provincial Gambia to celebrate the Eid, such a person would naturally not be able to come back and go to work on Tuesday.
Or, s/he would go through a lot of inconveniences to reach here and be available to work on Tuesday.
As a result of this, it is likely that on Tuesday very many civil servants did not go to work and that must have cost the country a lot of money.
It is now imperative that the Government through the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Supreme Islamic Council initiate a dialogue among Gambians to seek solutions to this problem. Otherwise, the state will continue to lose a lot.