The National Assembly Member for Banjul South, Honourable Fatoumatta Njie has said the office of the ‘First Lady’ is not provided in the Constitution of The Gambia.
Honourable Njie raised concern with the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs at the National Assembly in Banjul.
“It will not be fair to the tax payers to create the office of the First Lady when the constitution does not provide for it,” Honourable Fatoumatta Njie said.
The Banjul South National Assembly Member argued that the President’s wife cannot be given an office because of her husband was elected to office otherwise the wives and husbands of National Assembly Members should be given offices too. She also spoke on the issue of Deputy Ministers. She said there is no constitutional provision for Deputy Ministers and should not be allocated in the budget.
Honourable Njie went further to called on the government to create ‘Diaspora Desk’ at the National Assembly that would deal with the issues affecting the lives of Gambians outside the country.
The Finance Minister in his respond to the concerns raised by the honourable member for Banjul South said there are offices for the First Ladies within the sub region and the continent as well. He confirmed that the First Lady has an office which is technically assisted by Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries. He said the office of the First Lady is a ceremonial portfolios without salaries.
At this juncture, the Speaker of the National Assembly interrupted the debate. She quoted section 80 of the constitution, saying it provides for the First Lady. But some of members denied that the said section does not referred to the First Lady.
Meanwhile, the Session was adjourned till Friday, July 7, 2017.