The National Assembly became a forum for a debate on the question of three or five year term for President Barrow after his Address to the National Assembly on 13 September 2018.

The National Assembly member Halifa Sallah, in his response to the President’s speech indicated that Gambia needs a transitional development plan to accompany President Barrow’s transitional presidential mandate. He said if President Barrow assumes a three year mandate people will expect him to implement the policy of mitigating or reducing poverty but would not hold him accountable for addressing the long term challenges.

On the other hand if he assumes a five year mandate he would be expected to eradicate poverty and address the long term challenges of the country. The member for Busumbala indicated that the Constitution talks about a five year mandate and no national assembly member should make reference to a three year mandate.

In the adjournment debate National Assembly member Halifa Sallah reiterated that a person who was teaching the nation that Jammeh cannot remain in office after 18 January 2017 because of his five year mandate should not be misunderstood when he reports the existence of a gentle person’s agreement for a three year mandate. He indicated that under section 65 of the Constitution the President has the prerogative to resign and could also be removed through impeachment. He said the three or five year mandate is a matter of choice for the president. If he serves a three year mandate he will not be held accountable for doing his best even if his best is not satisfactory to the people. However if he chooses to serve for five years he would be treated like an executive president who should face the full force of parliamentary oversight.

The National Assembly is certainly coming off age and the people should take greater interest in its deliberation. No one should be left behind in doing so.

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