By: Kebba AF Touray
Kaddy Camara, Member of Parliament for Foni Bondali, on Monday lambasted lawmakers, who were opposed to the Local Government Amendment Bill which seeks to give greater autonomy to Councillors, Chairpersons and Mayors.
She said: “You said that we the APRC made these bad laws and now you want to follow those bad laws. This means that we are better than you. I am 100 percent in support of the bill and with my expertise in council matters. The bill once amended will guarantee effectiveness and independence of councils in their work”.
Ousman Sillah, in his intervention, gave his full support for the repealing of section 19(1) paragraph (G) of the Local Government Act, saying that it is retrogressive and purely targets individuals. He said the bill once amended will ensure protection, total autonomy, fair and effective execution of council duties by the officials, without interference and control from the executive and party leaders.
Fatoumatta Jawara, Member for Tallinding said “The bill once repealed will avert the victimization of council authorities by party leaders and I am in support of the bill. I urge my fellow lawmakers to also give their support to the bill”.
Foday NM drammeh, Member for Tumana, said there are lots of archaic laws in the Local Government Act that needed to be reviewed. He said he was disassociating himself from any move aimed at amending the said portion of the Local Government Act.
He said: “If it is to amend the entire Local Government Act, I will support that, but I will not support the repeal or amendment of a particular portion of the said section of the Act”
Matarr Jeng, Member for Lower Nuimi said:“This is disheartening and it is the height of ingratitude. Before becoming a councilor you had the support of the party and if you are shifting allegiance to another party, you should have shown your true color at the onset. This would be an eye opener to other parties and the parties should subscribe those who wish to stand under their ticket to an oath, so that there is no room for crossing carpeting after having been selected under a party ticket”.
Member for Upper Nuimi, Omar Ceesay said the reasons for the proposed amendment of the Local Government Act are clear and crucial as the move seeks to grant council officials autonomy and freedom of speech and association. He supported the attempt to amend the said bill.
Member for Jokadu, Salifu Jawo, said “When we (Parliamentarians) came in, we tackled section 91 subsection 1 (B), because it deters our independence as lawmakers and now the same thing should be done to the councils so that they are not entangled by party affiliation. You can betray your party and vice-visa. The councils should be independent from parties. I am in support of the bill”.
Muhammed Magassy said: “Parties are formed by the people and these are people who chose us to be their representatives. It is the will of the people that we must safeguard and maturity should guide us towards that direction otherwise history will not consider us. If we are to make decisions, we should decide in the interest of the people and not parties”.
He also thanked the mover of the bill for the initiative and urged that the people should not be used wrongly for self-interest gains, adding that the welfare and interest of the people should be upheld and protected.
Omar Ceesay, Member for Niamina East, said: “My submission and that of my constituents is that we are not in support of this move as one of the affected councilors is in my area”.
Ndey Yassin Secka, Nominated Member, remarked “If my party will expel me in the interest of the country, so be it but I will not be used to achieve personal or individual gains. We should implement an old adage that as citizens ‘let us ask ourselves what we can do to develop our nation and her people, in a just and honest manner’”.
She said the regime change was in December 2016, was made possible through the efforts of the citizenry, who united in pursuit of national interest and development, to have a better country, which she said, is possible.