At least 70 supporters of the ruling APRC party are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj on Saturday night, KMC Mayor Yankuba Colley said.
The beneficiaries were selected from across the country and converged at the party’s political bureau for an orientation. The bureau suffered an arson attack last week leaving many parts of the building damaged.
Last year, at least 300 would be pilgrims were stranded due to delays in granting them visas after each paid D600 fee towards their passports and travel insurance. But according to the APRC, the Hajj packages are fully sponsored by the Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh.
Nod delays have been reported this year and travel arrangements are reported to be on schedule.
Opponents say the sponsorship package is given to poor Muslim nations from the Saudi government, but has been used by Mr Jammeh to politically polish his image as a generous leader in the West African nation with a majority Muslim population.
Jammeh, 50, has declared The Gambia an Islamic republic and has recently vowed to enforce the Holy Qur’an as the constitution of the country on the guidance and support controversial televangelist preacher Dr Zakir Naik.