By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The National Assembly yesterday, 26th September, 2016, unanimously passed a resolution expelling Hon. Demba B.T. Sambou, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Niani Constituency, from the legislature with immediate effect.
In moving the resolution, Hon. Abdoulie Kanagi Jawla, NAM for Sandu and the acting Majoriy Leader, said the elected member is being expelled from the National Assembly for having overstayed in the United States where he was attending function.
Hon. Jawla said the NAM for Niani attended the International Legislative Conference held in the US from the 7- 11 August 2016 with other NAMs but failed to return as scheduled. He said the NAMs participated in this programme as voluntary members of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and that their travel expenses, participation fees and accommodation were borne by themselves after they were issued US entry visas from Banjul.
Hon. Jawla said the Clerk of the National Assembly took precautionary administrative measures to safeguard and protect the interest, dignity and integrity of the assembly in a letter to the Ag. Hon. Speaker on the matter and that this said letter was copied to Hon. Sambou but who failed to heed to the warning.
“The Hon. Member has recklessly abandoned his duty and office. He has breached his rights and privileges as prescribed in section (112) (a) and (b) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic. His actions tantamount to contempt of the National Assembly, an affront to the dignity, integrity, honour and privileges accorded to Members of the National Assembly,” said the Sandu NAM.
He added that “this is also an affront and disgrace to the sovereign people of the Republic; in particular, the Constituency of Niani; who had trusted and voted him on an Independent ticket to the National Assembly. He unceremoniously and without regard to conscience and dignity, abandoned the sovereign people of his Constituency by failing to return.”
He said the parliamentarians are collectively, jointly and severally obliged across all political persuasions to come together as an august Assembly and punish Hon. Sambou for this crime.
Hon. Jawla said that they have compelling evidence to safely conclude that the said Hon. Sambou is in utter breach of the trust and privileges of his Office and that he cannot continue to be a member of the Assembly.
In seconding the motion, the Minority Leader, Hon. Samba Jallow, expressed support for the motion and noted that Hon. Sambou disappointed the people of his constituency. He said expulsion is not enough and that the parliament should take up the issue with the ministry of foreign affairs so that the said ministry will work with the US Embassy in order to deport him back to the Gambia. He finally expressed his doubt as to whether a by-election can be held soon as the presidential election is fast approaching.
The NAM for Niamina East, Hon. Foday Jallow, also expressed his dismay with the actions of Hon. Sambou and indicated that he has brought chaos in Niami.
Hon. Mam Cherno Jallow, NAM for Upper Niami, said Hon. Sambou’s actions show that he is not a responsible individual. He said the NAMs unlawful decision to stay should be a lesson for the electorates and the political parties. He said the assembly has ethics that the parliamentarians should not compromise. While describing the expulsion of Hon. Sambou as a course in the right direction, he concluded: ‘If we are going out there to correct others, I see no reason why we should not correct ourselves.’
Hon. Muhammed Magasy of Basse Constituency said Hon. Sambou betrayed the trust and confidence of his people who voted him into office. He said the move is meant to protect the dignity of the august assembly.
Nominated member, Hon. Babou Gaye Sonko, supported the motion and noted that Hon. Sambou has sacrificed his dignity as a parliamentarian. He said Sambou has left a vacuum in the parliament and that at present his people are not represented in the assembly.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Fatou Mbaye, said the assembly is noble and that it must take the lead to preserve its respect, dignity and integrity. She said he betrayed his people and The Gambia at large. She finally welcomed the move.
Nominated member, Hon. Lamin Saine, said the move is in accordance with law. He said the resolution is in the right direction as it will deter others from emulating him.
After these contributions in favour of the resolution, the speaker declared the expulsion of Hon. Sambou as NAM representing Niani Constituency with immediate effect.