By Awa Touray
“I call on you the electorate of Banjul North to take your political representatives to task by scrutinising their work and inviting them to take stock of their stewardship” said Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North.
The Banjul North NAM made this call during the Constituency Consultation sessions he held on three consecutive days over the weekend in Banjul North starting on Friday, 29 March 2019.
“The objective of these consultations is to enable you the electorate of Banjul North to appraise what I have been doing and saying on your behalf as a National Assembly Member and to reprimand, if need be, or further task me as to what to do to promote your collective interest,” said Mr. Sillah.
The Banjul North law maker told the people of his constituency that he is of the conviction that he has been serving them to the best of his of ability but that it is up to them to decide and tell him whether or not this has been the case. He urged them to really scrutinise his work and to continue engaging him to serve them better.
“These consultation meetings should not have been convened by me at all in the first place. You are the ones who should be organising, mobilising and inviting me as your National Assembly Member to come and tell you not only what I have been doing but also what you would want me to know and do for the electorate and constituency,” said the Banjul North NAM.
He added that he can even find the resources for the logistics such as the hiring of chairs and public address (PA) system for such meetings in the wards, neighbourhoods and street corners or for vous (groups).
The Banjul North representative told the gatherings that what Gambia has succeeded in achieving is to have a country called the Gambia which is recognised by the international community.
“We have a country called the Gambia but we do not still have a Gambian people,” said Mr. Sillah.
He further said that unless the people know that they are sovereign and the owners of the Gambia who should benefit from it and that they are Gambians first and foremost, they will continue to live as a divided people in a country that only guarantees them poverty, destitution, hopelessness and backwardness. He said such a country would only provide them with leaders who divide them and thrive on their division along sectarian or ethnocentric and religious lines. He called on them to unite and assume their rightful position as sovereign citizens of the Gambia.
Mr. Sillah elaborated on the role of a National Assembly Member, the executive headed by the president of the republic and the councils. He also touched on the present economic situation of the country, the 2019 budget, youth empowerment, his constituency initiative such as the plan to transform the former Crab Island School into a technical and vocational education training (TVET) centre.
Mr. Sillah noted that such meetings should be an occasion for the electorate to come out in their numbers to enquire from their representative about issues that concern and promote their collective interests and welfare.
“It is my duty to serve you but it is also your right and duty to take me to task and this is the reason why I have opened an office so that the electorate of Banjul North, in particular, and Banjul and the Gambia will have unrestricted access to me if they need my services,” said the Banjul North NAM.
He said most of what he has been doing is shared through the electronic, print and social media platforms but that these face-to-face engagements would help him to further render accounts and take note of the issues affecting the electorate.
The sessions that were held in each of the three wards in the constituency were very interactive as the electorate commented and made enquiries on wide ranging issues relating to the constituency, in particular, and the country, in general.
They speakers expressed their appreciation for such an initiative by the Banjul North NAM and commented on the session as a novelty which should be emulated by other political representatives as a process of account rendering or stock taking.