On President Barrow’s state of the nation address

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Last week, His Excellency President Adama Barrow went to the National Assembly to deliver the State of the Nation Address. This is a Constitutional requirement for the president to go to the National Assembly at least once in a year to address them and the nation by extension.

In this year’s address, the president touched on so many different and relevant issues ranging from health, agriculture, education to the energy sector.
He spoke about the economy and the strides being made to ensure that it picks up and grows.

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Inasmuch as the speech was welcomed, it could be done better and made timelier and more relevant. As it is now, the Constitution does not specify in which month this address should take place nor does it say how often it should. It simply says it should be done at least once in the year.

As this address is a mechanism for accountability, it would have been much better to do it at the beginning of the year so the National Assembly, and indeed the general public can keep tabs on the plans and promises of the president during the rest of the year.

If for instance the address were to be done in January, the National Assembly and/or the general public can measure how much of the promises have been met or how far has the implementation of the plans gone after say four, five or six months.

It is therefore hoped that the Constitutional Review Commission will come up with a better way of holding the executive accountable by specifying the time and frequency of the president’s address to the National Assembly and the nation at large.

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