By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Hon. Ousman Sillah, the Member for Banjul North said President Barrow’s National Assembly address would have outlined a Governance Framework or plans of his government.
Hon. Sillah made these remarks during a continuation debate by law makers, on Thursday 27 July, 2017, on the Speech of the President in his just concluded Nation Address.
He underscored that there are lots of expectations on the governance framework that empowers Gambians to be able to live normal lives and realize their aspirations. Hon. Sillah added: “I was expecting that the speech would have contained a governance plan.” He pointed out that next year as the electoral cycle continues, the Gambia will be going for Local Government elections, slated for April 2018.
“As actors and actresses in the political field, we expect to see challenges experienced during the past elections, addressed,” he said.
According to Hon. Sillah, this governance framework should actually entail a legislative program on electoral reform, as we head towards local government elections, with new electoral laws that will address all challenges that Gambians were facing in past years.
“Electoral reforms would have reflected on how Gambians in the diaspora can participate in their country’s elections,” he opined.
Hon. Sillah added that all the countries within the sub region allow their citizens outside their countries to vote. He cited Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea Conakry, Mali among the many countries, as examples. He thought the president’s address would have accommodated reforms on electoral laws for the upcoming future elections.
The Banjul North NAM also said the President could have stated clearly on constitutional and institutional reforms what his government would want to achieve.
Hon. Sillah however noted that a lot of efforts have been made in the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and expectations are high.
The Banjul North MP further stated that the President could have announced the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry which he said can look into issues of those who disappeared without trace, during the former regime of Jammeh. He cited the likes of Deyda Hydara and indicated that truth and justice should prevail on their cases. Hon. Sillah underscored the importance of gaining free access to information without fear.
“The plan in that area, would have been the freedom of expression act; to have free access to information without fear, in this new democratic dispensation,” Hon Sillah pointed out.