Monday, September 21, 2020

National Assembly Summons Vice President to appear for Questioning

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By; Kebba AF Touray

The National Assembly of the Gambia has on Thursday summoned the Vice President, Dr. Istaou Touray, to appear before the legislature to respond to some questions.

Moving the motion before the Assembly, Member for Serrekunda, Halifa Sallah, said the move aims to ensure that the Vice President appears and respond to the following questions;

Why the motion for an extension of the state of public emergency for the period of 45 days with effect from Wednesday, 1st July2020 as per the Order Paper of 30th June 2020, was withdrawn?

Has a State of Public Emergency been declared since the National Assembly Commence Session and if so when was it declared and under what authority?

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What Emergency powers regulations are currently in force and under what authority?.

How the executive computes time to determine the expiry date of each of the declaration of a state of a state of public emergency since 18th March 2020?

He said that section 34 of the constitution empowers the President to declare a state of public emergency and section 34 subsections 2 indicates the expiration of a declaration of public emergency.

He said section 34 subsection 2 reads: “A declaration made under this section shall lapse at the expiration of a period of seven days or if the assembly is not in session twenty-one days, beginning on the day on which the proclamation is published in the Gazette unless, before the expiration of that period, it has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members thereof”.

He emphasized that any declaration by the President would expire within 7 days if the Assembly is in session and 21 days if the Assembly is not in session.

“How then is the declaration extended beyond seven days, if the Assembly is in session or beyond 21 days if the Assembly is not in session?” asked Sallah.

He said: “Only the National Assembly is given the power by the constitution to extend a state of public emergency so that it would not expire within seven days if the national assembly is in session or within 21 days if the assembly is not in session.”

He said, “Answers to these questions, would provide sufficient evidence for the National Assembly to determine whether the executive is acting in line with the letter and spirit of the constitution it has taken oath to respect, uphold and enforce or not”

“I humbly move that this August Assembly summons the Vice President to come and answer the three fundamental questions”, moved”, Sallah said.

Members, who took part in the debate on the motion, congratulated Halifa Sallah for the move and gave their support to the motion. The motion was subsequently adopted by the members and now awaits the Vice President to appear before them to provide answers to the aforesaid questions.

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