Abdoulie G. Dibba The National Assembly Member for Basse Constituency Hon Muhammad Magassy has rejected the passing of the Election Amendment Bill by the National Assembly and called on his colleagues to do the same and subject it to further review to suit the demands of the Gambian people. Below is the text of his contribution. Thank you very much Hon Speaker for giving me the opportunity to say something on this important Bill. Hon Speaker, there is no doubt about the changed that happen now is as a result of the pressure of the Gambian people here and at the Diaspora. Let me thank the Gambian people because their noise has made an impact and I will tell them that their noise has made an impact. When I was coming this morning, I was reading a deposit of One Million Dalasi but surprisingly, when I arrived I discovered that the number has changed. I have realized that the noise of the Gambian people has made an impact and I am encouraging them to make more noises. The Gambian people have done all what they can do and the ball is now in our court and we should make sure that this bill is rejected and go back for review to suit the demands of the Gambian people. We the National Assembly Members are here to transform the needs and aspirations of our people into action. We are not here for the executive or for a single person. We are here for the Gambian people. I am elected by the Gambian people to come and represent them in this National Assembly therefore before I do anything or say anything in this 21st century, I must go and consult my people. I am the voice and ambassador of my people where-ever I am. I will not come here and disappoint them. What my people are saying are read in the newspaper and heard in the radios and i think you are listening. I congratulated you for listening because the changes in the deposit of the presidential candidate and the National Assembly is a clear indication that you are listening to the noise of the Gambian people but there is still room for improvement. Remember section 26 of the constitution which gave the right for Gambians to elect and be elected and call for restrictions that are reasonable and justifiable. Now the amendment of section 43 of the Election Act is calling for a deposit of D500, 000 for presidential candidate and D50, 000 for National Assembly Candidates. Remember the earning capacity of the Gambian people as you know the average earning capacity of Gambians. Section 26 of the constitution, if it is not good for you is good for me because it is in the constitution and it gave me right to vote and be voted; a right which I should seized because it is my right. Should I allow you to come and violate that right? I should not! And I would not! What I should do is to make noise even if I cannot stop you, but you will know that what you are doing I am not please with it. That’s what the Gambian people were doing and I think we should be very careful because no condition is permanent. “We are in today but tomorrow too is coming”. Martin Luther King Jr stated that laws and orders exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they failed in those purposes, they become the most dangerous and destructive to the human society. So if you are establishing law, establish the law for the purpose of justice and if I talk of justice, you calling for equal opportunities for everybody. If you are fortune, remember that others are not fortune.As National Assembly Members you know what you are earning and you know what the civil servants also earned. You know very well that those who earned D5,000 in the civil service could be counted with the fingers. So that means that what you are about to do is to create opportunities, powers and privileges to just a few in the country. He quoted George Orwell’s Animal Farm in which the pig made a declaration that all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. “This shows the hypocrisy of the African states, especially the Governments who keep on saying that all the citizens are equal why in actual fact you are giving privilege to just a few. Are words and practices the same? If words and practices are not the same, that is hypocrisy. Let think critically and rationally. We are intellectuals of the 21st century. Our words should be the thoughts of our people. We are not here to think and talk but we are here to say what our people are thinking of. We are here to transmit the message of our people so that their voices can be heard where they cannot reach. I personally cannot take the Holy Qur’an and said to the Almighty Lord that I will be faithful and come and do something contrary to that because I know that I will die one day. As Aminata Sow Faal said “nobody know when to die, where to die and how. And when you died, you will be accountable to the people and to Al-mighty Allah. What ever you do will be recorded and that is file that will be used to judge you. I will not commit myself for fear or favour. No! So therefore Hon Speaker, I strongly stand to say no to this amendment bill. I will repeat it that my battle here is for the bill to be rejected for further revision because I am convinced that the Gambian people know what is good for them. Even I as an National Assembly Member if I do not know what is good for them, they know what is good for themselves and they have shown us what is good for them and you know it because the impact is in the bill. And they will continue to make the pressure of telling us what is good for them so that the impact will be more positive than it is now. I do not intend to go into detail because there is no use of saying much because it will not be taken by the majority but I just want to register my total rejection of the bill and I called on my colleagues to reject the bill. This is how intellectuals of the 21st century should behave and I thank Al-mighty Allah that I am behaving as such. Thanks Hon. Speaker and I beg to take my seat. ]]>
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