By Aji Fatou Faal
The 3rd ordinary session of the National Assembly in this year’s legislative calender ended with a heated adjournment debate over many aspects.
An interesting exchange between Halifa Sallah of Serekunda and Saikouba Jarju of Busumbala centered on the much talked about debate on whether it is possible for President Barrow to quit after three years widely believed to be the timeline agreed among his coalition partners.
Hon Sallah said there is a need to assess the way forward, explaining that if it is a transitional government of 3 years, then it can be understood that it is not its duty to eradicate poverty, but would struggle to minimize the problems of the land with the understanding of the people. “But if the government is to stay for 5 years, then it’s a normal government and the anticipation is that it should address the problems and challenges of our people”.
Hon Sallah then responded to the NAM for Busumbala who had argued that people must not be misled about the 3 years when the constitution states five. In response Mr Sallah queried: “Who is he educating? I was in charge during the impasse, telling people why the former President should leave here on the 18th of January, based on the 5-year mandate of the constitution, where election takes place within three months before the end of the term of the incumbent. Who are they educating about the Constitution? Go to Section 65, a President can resign, a President can be impeached, there are many ways of leaving office”, he stated.
Meanwhile Muhammad Ndow, National Assembly Member for Banjul Central and Madi Ceesay, member for Serekunda West were also locked up in an interesting debate about the city of Banjul.
The NAM for Serekunda West had rather jokingly opined that perhaps the capital should be relocated from Banjul to Mansakonko, given the sorry state of the capital’s infrastructure. In response Hon Ndow said a government that cannot even build a skills center cannot dream of building a whole new capital.
But on a more a serious note, Ndow said he does not support the idea of relocating the Gambia National Library Service Authority (GNSLA) from Banjul to Kanifing Municipality, as was attempted by the former regime and still being considered.
“I can’t imagine instead of building more libraries you want to relocate it from the capital city to another place depriving the Banjulians of benefiting from it,” he said.