By Lamin Sanyang

 

Gambia’s National Assembly Members have called on Cabinet Ministers to attend legislative sessions at the National Assembly in
Banjul.

Honourable Kebba K. Barrow, National Assembly Member for Kombo South and Majority Leader has moved the motion which was seconded by Honourable Samba Jallow, Minority Leader and National Assembly Member for Niamina Dankunku.

Several interventions were made by the deputies on the problems affecting their respective constituencies ranging from electricity, water, road and health facilities across the length and breadth of the country. Honorable Sidia Jatta, National Assembly Member for Wuli West has emphasized the importance of calling on the executive to attend parliamentary sessions otherwise they will be only talking to themselves at the National Assembly. He further made suggestions for using local languages instead of English as a means of communication in the National Assembly.

The honorable Member for Lower Niumi, Mahtarr M. Jeng has also made emphasis on the executive to be attending legislative sessions.

“I wish the Minister of Energy is present here,” Honourable Mahtarr M. Jeng said.

Jeng also highlighted the bad roads in his constituency which he said has been a major issue of concern for the past 40 years. He explained the hazards of the Banjul/Barra ferry crossing point. He cited the bad conditions of the ferries without any insurance for the passengers.

The Lower Niumi NAM queried about the appointment of Chiefs and Alkalolu by the president of the republic in consultation with the Minister of Local Government, Lands and Regional Integration.

“Why Should the president appoints Chiefs and Alkalolu when he is elected by the people ” he interjected.

He added: “Let the people nominate and elect their own Chiefs and Alkalolu.”

The NAM for Lower Niumi further questioned the reason of leaving the office of the Vice President vacant for more than 3 months.

“Are they waiting for the National Assembly to amend the constitution?,” he asked.

At this juncture, the Speaker of National Assembly intervened saying she understands that the government is working on the constitutional amendment at the Ministry of Justice.

Honourable Kajali Fofana, National Assembly Member for Jarra West called on the government to invest in agriculture.

Honourable Alh. Sankung Jammeh, National Assembly Member for Foni Jarrol explained the plight of Foni to the National Assembly. He said they are part of the country and demand for equal treatment. He condemned the incident that happened in Kanilai leaving 3 soldiers wounded.

The members for Banjul North, South and Central all highlighted the problems facing the city particularly the drainage and sewage system in the rainy season.

“We are all ashamed of the situation in Banjul,” Honourable Fatoumatta alias Touma Njie said.

Ousman Sillah, NAM for Banjul North called on the amendment of the section in the constitution that empower party leader to dismiss National Assembly Member making them to lost their seats.

Honourable Suwaibou Touray, NAM for Wuli East said they are not only complaining but would want the government to intervene. He demanded the presence of the executives. He also questioned whether the new government would be following the budget made by the former President Jammeh or need another indemnity bill.

Meanwhile, several interventions were made by various members. The sitting was later adjourned.