By Edrissa Jallow, @EdrissaJallow10
President Adama Barrow has declared a seven-day national mourning following the death of Vice President Alieu Badara Joof effective yesterday 18th January 2023. The seven days are expected to expire on Tuesday 24th January 2023.
VP Joof, was reported to have died on Wednesday 18th January 2023 at the age of 65, served as the Minister of Higher Education Research, Science and Technology from 22nd February 2017 to 4th May 2022. On the same day 4th May 2022, President Barrow promoted him as the Vice President of The Gambia until his demise.
“In memory of the late VP Joof, President Barrow has declared a 7-day National Mourning effective today 18th January 2023 with all flags flying half mast,” noted the Government Spokesperson, Ebrima G Sankareh’s statement published by the Department of Information Service Gambia.
According to Spokesperson Sankareh, President Barrow “remembers his Vice President as a very serious, level-headed, patriotic, dedicated, competent, and honest Gambian who spent his entire lifetime trying to improve the lot of mankind”.
It’s been reported that the Vice President left the Gambia about three weeks ago to seek medical treatment in New Delhi, India where he was pronounced dead. While his medical departure was not officially announced, the general public has raised concerns that VP Joof has not been seen in public for months.
“Fellow Gambians, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing away of my Vice-President, His Excellency, Badara Alieu Joof. The sad event took place in India after a short illness,” said President Barrow on Twitter.
Late VP Joof was the fourth Vice President to serve under President Adama Barrow since he was sworn into Office in January 2017.
Mr. Sankareh who doubles as the Presidential Diaspora Adviser said “the body of the late VP will be laid in State at the National Assembly for a State Funeral. Arrangements related to the funeral will be announced later”.
In addition, Spokesperson Sankareh stated that a “book of condolences will be opened at the Presidency on Thursday 19th January, 2023”.