President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has upturned the decree which ordered female government employees to cover their hair at work.
In a statement issued by the president’s office on Thursday, Jammeh explained that the ban, which was imposed on January 4, was lifted because it made women “unhappy”.
“Women are (Mr Jammeh’s) best friends, they are his sisters and he is here for their wellbeing and happiness at all times,” the statement read.
“That being the case, this decision that makes them unhappy has been lifted.”
In December, Jammeh proclaimed his country an Islamic republic, saying the decision was taken in order to shake off “colonial legacy”.
“In line with the country’s religious identity and values I proclaim Gambia as an Islamic state,” he had said in a state wide broadcast.
“As Muslims are the majority in the country, Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy. “Gambia’s destiny is in the hands of the Almighty Allah. As from today, Gambia is an Islamic state. We will be an Islamic state that will respect the rights of the citizens.”
Gambia is predominantly a Muslim nation as 95 per cent of its 1.8 million population practice Islam.
Jammeh, who has been in power for 21 years, cultivates the image of a practicing Muslim, and is often seen holding a Koran or prayer beads.
A controversial leader, he is about the only known figure with many appellations, some of which are: Alhaji, Sheik, Chief, Ambassador, and Dr. The 50-year-old is a retired military officer.