The district chiefs of The Gambia were in the State House on Monday to meet President Adama Barrow. But guess what? There were no women in the room.
It was the president’s first meeting with the traditional leaders and it unsurprisingly generated a lot of attention among Gambians.
In his speech, Barrow thanked them for the visit and promised to restore the dignity, respect and the independence of the Office of District Chief.
He reminded them of their primary responsibilities, among which is to promote the government’s policies and programmes, preserve and maintain the traditional and cultural heritage of their communities in an environment of peace and stability.
But the lack of women in the room caught the attention of some Gambians.
Former information minister, DA Jawo wrote on Facebook: “They are all men. Isn't it a shame that there has never been a single woman chief in this country?"
He continued: "Let's hope that the new constitution will either completely abandon the chieftaincy institution or reform it to reflect modernity. We cannot afford to continue to live in the past."
The Gambia has never had a female chief since the country gained independence in 1965.