National Assembly Speaker Says Coups Cannot Be the Means to Change Governments

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By; Kebba AF Touray

The Speaker of the Gambia’s National Assembly, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, said coups should not be means of changing governments.

Speaker Jatta was delivering a statement at the opening of the third Ordinary Session of the 2023 Legislative year yesterday Monday 4th September 2023.

In his submission, the Speaker said the West African sub-region is witnessing a prevalence of military coups against constitutionally elected governments, and this is grossly undermining the supreme will of citizens who have exercised their civic and democratic political rights to put those governments into office.

On the purchase of vehicles for lawmakers, the Speaker clarified that the process was transparent, adding that it was done in a fair manner which followed due process.

“As an equal arm of the state, the necessity for these vehicles must be understood by everyone who wishes members of this assembly to perform well. Beyond that in this creative scheme, the vehicles were not fully funded by the government, but rather purchased on a 50-50 basis between members and the National Assembly Authority and the Government,” he said. He added that parliaments before this one, have traditionally been at a disadvantaged since independence, and to properly perform their function and fully take their rightful positions in the country’s legislative and other developments, parliament must be equipped with the necessary resources. He said it is understandable that most of the brilliant initiatives taken by the National Assembly authority, would receive backlashes from the public, but that being a democratic institution, Members have taken note of all opinions and concerns raised by citizens.

“Indeed, constructive public opinion is the most supreme means of accountability,” he said.

On the recent rains, the Speaker said the heavy downpours have triggered floods in certain parts of the country, and has devastated farmlands and properties part of which he said is attributed to adverse climate change that the world faces presently, and said there is need for concerted effort to address the phenomenon.

“In the short term, there is need for farmers to adopt smart agricultural mechanisms to ensure sustainability and acquire food self-sufficiency, and we are in solidarity with our people during these unfortunate incidents,” the Speaker concluded.