By Kebba Secka
The fourth Ordinary Session of the National Assembly ended with an approval of five candidates as commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission without opposition. The approval came after a close scrutiny of the CVs of the proposed Commissioners and their recommendations by the Assembly’s Public Appointment Standing Committee on Thursday 27 December, 2018.
The shortlisted candidates are Emmanuel Daniel Joof former Chairperson of the Faraba Commission, Jainaba Johm, Diasporan Gambian, Njundu Drammeh , Imam Baba Muhtar Leigh and Dr Agnes Adama Campell nee Kallay, a Diasporan Gambian.
The close vetting of the curriculum vitae of the applicants came as a result of a motion from the member for Banjul North, Ousman Sillah. While moving the motion for the approval of the candidates, Minority Leader, Samba Jallow said the committee had taken cognizance of the statutory requirements as provided for under section 5(2) of the Human Rights Commission Act, 2017. According to him, the president shall appoint members of this Commission who shall be persons with high morals and proven integrity and distinguish themselves in their respective fields, with proven records of respect for human rights.
During the debate, members took turns in expressing concerns and asking questions. One among them is nominated member, Ndey Yassin Secka who asked whether the Gambia government will be responsible for airlifting Jainaba Johm from USA anytime she is needed to serve in the Commission. Minister of Justice and Attorney General Abubakar Tambadou said applications were opened for interested applicants and Jainaba applied for the position. This, he said, is what makes his ministry to believe that she has intention to come back home. “I believe that she will be interested to serve if her selection is approved,” said Tambadou. Member for Busumbala, Hon Saikouba Jawara expressed satisfaction of the shortlisted Gambians in the Diaspora describing it as an opportunity to bring them back home.
Member for Niamina East said having gone through the CVs of the candidates, it shows that all the applicants have got the requirements but only few need to be chosen. He attributed this to the saying that, ‘many are called but few are chosen.’ In his conclusion, he said: “I’ll recommend for us to approve what the committee has recommended for us.” Member for Brikama North, Janjanbureh and nominated member Majanko Samusa all expressed appreciation of the PAC’s resolve to shortlist the five qualified Gambians.