Abdoulie G. Dibba
Foroyaa has started presenting the contributions of National Assembly members to the debate on the recently passed Election Act Amendment Bill waiting to be assented to by the president of the republic. In the last edition, we published verbatim the contribution of the National Assembly Member for Serre Kunda East Constituency and Majority Leader Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta. This edition will be featuring the contribution of Hon. Baboucarr Nyang, National Assembly Member for Banjul South.
The National Assembly Member for Banjul South has supported the passing of the Election Amendment Bill by the National Assembly and told his colleagues that the amendment contained a lot of positive things that benefit all political parties.
Below is his contribution presented verbatim:
“Thank you Hon Speaker for giving me the floor.
Hon Speaker, I noticed that these authors have done a great job. Hon Speaker they were intelligent enough to take charged not to burden future generations with a totally computed constitution.
In short, Hon Speaker they created a framework upon which others could build. That’s why Hon Speaker this country is galloping. It changes. Its Government changes as time goes on. So Hon Speaker, in the 21st century, on this date, we are about to amend a very important document. Hon Speaker this amendment is here for all political parties, not only the APRC but all political parties. As the Majority Leader rightly said, there are many positive things in this amendment.
First Hon Speaker, permit for political parties to organise political rallies. It was always a problem for our security forces. I believed Hon Speaker even if the opposition is given the mandate to issue permits, they will always cry foul. But thank God Hon Speaker its now been transferred now to the IEC.
Hon Speaker, another positive thing is that it is now mandatory for political parties to organise congresses every two years. Hon Speaker that gives the Gambian people the opportunity to understand the parties that serves their interests. You cannot be having a political party and the same individuals for decades will be at the helm. But with the amendment, Hon Speaker, that will be history.
Hon Speaker, on the spot counting. Again, I will congratulate the IEC. They practise it in the local Government election and they realized it promote transparency and accountability. So IEC, thank you very much. That’s another positive. Hon Speaker if you are here to serve your people, whatever is needed to be done or requested from you, you will do.
For political parties to submit to their audited accounts as the Majority Leader rightly said, they are accountable to the IEC.
Hon Speaker if you are genuine, if you are here to serve your people that should not be a problem. But Hon Speaker, this amendment will serve the interest of genuine political parties but all the brief case political parties will cry foul. All genuine ones will benefit from this amendment. So is not here for the APRC or any other political party, but all political parties.
Hon Speaker to conclude, I will say this to my colleagues, constitutions and amendments are relative to a particular country. That is about sovereignty. Is our country, we should decide what happen in this country. In the Assembly, we are here because of the battle for democracy.
The majority leader, because of the battle for democracy, we came up as number one. So we decide on issues here that are described by the constitution.
So Hon Speaker, constitutions and amendments are relative to a particular country as I said early. For example in Belgium in the EU, it is mandatory for eligible voters to participate in elections. You have to vote! If you don’t vote, you have to be penalised. But that is relative to Belguim.
In the Gambia here, that’s not the case. So this is why I said it is relative and particular in a given country.
So in this country, Hon Speaker, we are in a right course. This amendment is here as the mover rightly said to benefit all political parties and the government of the day see to it that it happen; that the Gambian people’s interest is being promoted and preserved at any given time.
So Hon Speaker, to conclude, I want to again thank the Hon Minister and the Government of the day for at all giving time, working and struggling so that the interest of the Gambian people prevailed.
I thank you very much Hon Speaker for giving me the floor.”