By Yankuba Jallow
Hon. Halifa Sallah, National Assembly Member for Serrekunda, in his contribution during the adjournment debate, said during the time of the impasse when President Barrow moved from his Brusubi residence to the Kairaba Hotel in the Senegambia area, the police will make sure that the traffic stops until he passes and proceeds to his destination as well as when he was returning home.
He said “this was made possible because of the right tactics and strategies put in place to ensure peaceful co-existence under the law. As the Chairperson of the Inter-Party Committee, I am calling on all political parties to educate their members that all Gambians are equal in sovereignty and that all should respect each other’s sovereignty in order to have a peaceful co-existence.”
He added that they will be doing civic education for the members of the various political parties in order for them to understand how the country was transformed.
The Serekunda National Assembly Member (NAM) said when he was travelling the other day at the Airport he was asked whether he got clearance from the office of the president but he told them that as a Member of the National Assembly he is not a civil servant who needs the permission of the executive in order to travel out of the country.
Hon. Sallah said the Constitution is very clear that NAMs cannot be civil servants requiring the permission of the Executive to travel and that this issue has now reached a point now that it must be respected. “The standing protocol that was mentioned need to be to be brought to the National Assembly to be scrutinised because the Constitution under section 25(2) is very clear that Every person lawfully within The Gambia shall have the right to move freely throughout The Gambia, to choose his or her own place of residence within The Gambia, and to leave The Gambia,” he added.
He said this should be done in order to ascertain that it confines itself within the standards of the constitution.
The Serekunda NAM told the law makers that there are over 400,000 students that graduate every 12 years in The Gambian school system. He said he had asked the Minister of Trade whether there can be exchange of work under section 44 of the Labour Act in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and that the Minister’s response to the question was uncomprehendable because he has all the right to called it an exchange of work because all those seeking job are being registered and that the companies that are ready to provide employment are registered in order to merge the employers and the employees.
“In essence, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told us that there are 772 voluntary returnees and now the question is what are they doing so that the returnees can be received and provided with job opportunities so that they can meet their economic needs,” asked Hon. Sallah.
He suggested that for those returnees to be registered in collaboration the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to provide them with not only training but to give them money because the issue is income generation not just only training. He said there are numerous trainings that have been taking place in many institutions and that what is needed now is income generation.
He told the law makers to look into the issues of drainage,and waste management as highlighted by the NAM for Serrekunda West. He said the issue of the secondary roads were also designed by them because almost all the secondary roads are dilapidated. “We need to develop a strategy for waste management and waste disposal,” suggested the Serekunda NAM.
He said where he has gone to his recent tour of some countries in Europe, it was clearly made known to him that waste is a resource and “we need to transform the waste into resource rather than to wastage as we are seeing it.”
Hon. Sallah informed the National Assembly that they have consulted some Gambian engineers who have come up with strategies to solve the drainage problem in this country. He noted that one of the solutions designed by these Gambian engineers is on howthe peoplecan manage water in their homes through a ‘recharge well system’ where the water can be reused rather than wasted.
He explained how one of these engineers have developed a design on how to managed the water logged at the secondary roads and how to engage metal workers to fabricate doors that can prevent water entering into compounds.
Hon. Sallah said cabinet ministers cannot make excuses that they are out of office and cannot come to the national assembly. He said if a minister is indisposed, another minister who is overseeing that particular ministry can step in for the absent colleague. He said permanent secretaries cannot represent the ministers in the National Assembly and respond to concerns raised.
“We are rectifying a system and that in rectifying the sytem we should not emulate that system,” adviced Hon. Sallah.
The Serekunda NAM said he does not understand why whenever he mentions adherance to the Constitution in whatever they are doing some of his colleagues would object to it.
“We are saying avoid the mistakes of the past and we are showing how that could be done, and you are talking about denouncing us, then you want to repeat the mistakes of the past and that will not happen here,” said Hon. Sallah.
The Serekunda NAM thanked the Speaker for her efforts in trying to develop the competence of the National Assembly to be able to effectively serve and carryout its core functions. He said they have legislative, oversight, advocacy and impeachment functions. He said the Constitution gives them the power to impeach a minister for misconduct and that even the highest executive, the President, can be impeached by the National Assembly.
Hon. Sallah concluded that there should be no war between the state institutions but collaboration in order for them to promote the liberty, dignity and prosperity of the sovereign Gambian people and for the common interest of all.