By: Kebba AF Touray
The National Assembly has referred the appointments of Mr. Sulayman Samba and Ms. Mary Samba as members of the Judicial Service Commission to the standing committee on public appointments on Thursday 1st July 2021.
Laying the report of the standing committee on public appointments, Hon. Kebba K Barrow, Majority Leader and Member for Kombo South, informed the Assembly that the committee met to consider the confirmation of the said nominations, pursuant section 145(1) paragraphs (d) and (e) and 145(2) of the 1997 Constitution.
He said the motion on the said appointment to the Judicial Service Commission was tabled by the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, and it was referred to the committee for scrutiny and report its finding back to the plenary.
“Mr. Sulayman Samba’s nomination by the President is in pursuant to section 145[E] and 145 of the constitution, while Ms. Mary Samba’s nomination by the Justice Minister and the Gambia Bar Association is also mandated by section 145[D] and 145 of the 1997 constitution,” he said.
He said during the scrutiny, the committee gave due consideration to the relevant provision of the 1997 constitution and the nominees were found to be people of high caliber and professionals in their own rights.
He said having considered the nominations, the committee resolved and propose that the assembly confirm the nominations of the nominees as members of the judicial service commission, pursuant to section 145[D][E] and section 145 of the constitution and in line with clause 111 of the standing orders.
Seconding the report, Momodou Camara member for Foni Bintang Karanai, implored for consistency in the credentials of the two nominees, stating that their credentials each has different initials.
Ousman Sillah, member for Banjul North, acknowledged the work of the committee executed during the scrutiny process and extolled the nominations, saying it is an integral part in the process of strengthening dispensation of justice in the Gambia.
“I want to believe that the nominees are coming with a wealth of experience, which will help the judicial service commission in the discharge of its functions. The judicial system in the country has a fundamental role to play in the maintenance of law and order in the dispensation of justice and that people with capacity in justice must be entrusted with such a portfolio to ensure that the courts function as expected,” he said.
Halifa Sallah, Member for Serrekunda, said the task they (lawmakers) are given is to ensure that judicial service commission has commissioners who would be able to advise the President in the exercise of his or her powers, relating to the appointment of judges, and to also make recommendations regarding terms and conditions of service of judge, judicial officers and staff of the court.
He said: “The judiciary is vested with judicial powers to ensure that there is justice in our homeland. Where judges, judicial officers, staff are inadequate capacitated or remunerated, the threats to justice become evident.”
He said currently there are numerous lapses in the court system and the claim is that the judicial officers and staff are not properly numerated, and that the reason for the existence of an Independent Judicial Service Commission is to ensure the independence of the judiciary, without which there can be no justice.
He said: “The creation of service commission for institutions that are vital for the survival of the country is the way forward and, in the constitution, the separation of powers is guaranteed by the creation of the judicial service commission and given these functions to guide the whole process.”
Sulayman Saho, member for Baddibu Central, said the nominees by virtue of their work experience and educational backgrounds are fit for the task.
“With the emergence of a new government, there are a lot of reforms and the nomination is in that direction, with the objective of ensuring that the judiciary service commission delivers to the expectations of Gambians,” he said.
“We cannot have proper sanitization of the judiciary, if the men and women who are appointed or nominated are not of sound and balanced minds. Nominating these two people in the commission will promote the rule of law which will be premised on impartiality, equality and supremacy of the law.”
He said appointment and nomination into the judiciary should not be based on nepotism or favoritism, but based on knowledge, experience and competence.
Sidia Jatta, member for Wuli West, expressed concerns with the difference in the initials of the nominees and tasked the appointment committee to address the matter to ensure uniformity in the initials of the two nominees with respect to their individual initials.
At this juncture, member for Bintang Karanai, Momodou Camara, moved a motion to refer the report on the confirmation of nomination to the appointments committee for further scrutiny and obtain the exact initials of the two nominees.
The report is referred back to the standing committee on public appointments for further scrutiny and obtain the actual initials of the nominees and report back to the plenary.