Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Local Government Amendment Bill And A Divided National Assembly

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There is no doubt that the cohesion of the National Assembly is at stake which should be contained as quickly as possible if this oversight institution is to carry out its functions.

Section 112 of the Constitution provides the solution. It states:

The responsibilities of the members of the National Assembly shall include the following –

(a) all members shall maintain the dignity of the National Assembly both during the sittings of the National Assembly and in their acts and activities outside the National Assembly;

{b) all members shall regard themselves as servants of the people of The Gambia, desist from any conduct by which they seek improperly to enrich themselves or alienate themselves from the people, and shall discharge their duties and functions in the interest of the nation as a whole and in doing so shall be influenced by the dictates of conscience and the national interest.

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The National Assembly members amended section 91 Subsection 1 d of the Constitution which use to read: ) “A member of the National Assembly shall vacate his or of her seat in the National Assembly-

(d) if he or she ceases to be a member of the political party of which he or she was a member at the time of his or her election;”

Now, expulsion from a party will not lead to loss of a seat in the National Assembly as it used to before the amendment.

Now the members of parliament want to remove Section 19 Subsection 1 g of the Local Government Act which reads :”….a person shall cease to be a member of a council if he or she ceases to be a member of the party of which he or she was a member at the time of his or her election”

Is this not in line with what was amended by the members of the National Assembly? Furthermore, the supreme court decision to restore Yakumba Jaiteh added to the security of tenure pf nominated members. It goes without saying that if nominated members are secure in their seat and cannot be removed by a President why should an elected member be removed from a council seat by a Party leadership. The National Assembly members should have a rethink and struggle to maintain the cohesion of the Assembly for better purposes.

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