BREAKING NEWS: THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN BANJUL HAS AGAIN FAILED TO ADDOPT CONTROVASIAL ELECTORAL AND DEATH SENTENCING AMENDMENT BILL 2015July 2, 2015
Gambia’s confused Parliamentarians have again failed to adopt the much talked about controversial electoral and death sentencing Amendment Bill 2015 at the parliament building today June 30th 2015 in Banjul . The State Lawmakers failed to adopt the Independent Electoral Commission Amendment Bill 2015 on Tuesday’s sitting which makes it the second time for the members are unable to reach a consensus on the controversial bill on electing representatives and President. The first time for the same bill to be presented to Parliament was slated for June 23rd but was postponed till Tuesday 30th June. “The bill is now deferred according to the Speaker of Parliament Hon. Abdoulie Bojang and it is to be tabled on 7th July, 2015 alongside the local government amendment bill 2015”
“I think they are afraid to present this bill to the house because even their own members are grossly against this bill and certainly they may experience a bitter spill if they allow it to be tabled said Honourable Samba Jallow. “ It’s rather unfortunate that this is the second time that this bill fails to pass but it is obvious that something terribly is wrong,” said Honourable Samba Jallow
“ It’s rather unfortunate that this is the second time that this bill fails to pass but it is obvious that something terribly is wrong,” said the Niamina Dankunku National Assembly parliamentarian on Tuesday. Honourable Jallow is also the Minority Leader in the House of Assembly and an MP from the Opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP). The fearless Honourable who was said to have force his way to parliament for Tuesday’s sitting, despite recuperating from an ailment, “Despite I am not well, I had to force my way to attend this session because if i don’t come some people may think that I have accepted the bribed from the ruling party said Honourable Jallow. This is why I have to force my way to the parliament building he told Xinhua on Tuesday. I was really not aware that the bill will not be debated today. To the best of my knowledge, we were to debate this bill today and to my surprise it was postponed without any reason/s for the postponement of the tabling of the bill’ Honourable Jallow went on.
For his Part, Honourable Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the Majority leader of the National Assembly, He said that the tabling of a bill can be postponed at any given time, noting that these postponements may not necessarily be linked to the national assembly. Honourable Jatta defended that it could be beyond the control of the national assembly because the bill is not presented by the National Assembly but the responsibility of those tabling that particular bill. According to him, he was surprise that many members turned out to attend the assembly in anticipation for the tabling of the much talked-about bill, noting that this should not be the case as all bills passed by the assembly are of equal importance to the well-being of the people of the country. While reacting to views emanating from opposition leaders, the APRC anchorman said, “They are only complaining about the deposit, in fact, Gambia is the cheapest country as far as deposit is concern in election around the sub-region and the globe at large. If you go to some African countries including Senegal and South Africa you will be surprise to note the figures for deposit said Honourable Jatta.
When questioned on a possible division within the ruling APRC ranks, Honourable Jatta denied flatly that there was any division with their Party saying they were having no consultations on the bill. “Who told you we were having consultation meetings on the IEC bill? No journalist was present here so how would you know? He asked a local journalist who posed the question to him. “Yes it is true we having an inner cleansing on our own issues which are under discussion. This was what we were doing,” added the APRC anchorman.
He said they do not have to rush any bill for it to become law but he however expressed dismay over sudden concerns of people regarding the electoral bill saying “Why is everybody suddenly concerned about the IEC bill which he said was never the case before the amendment came in for debating. But according to few lawmakers under condition of anonymity, the debate on the bills was stalled as a result of an “intense” consultation taking place among APRC representatives in the assembly chamber. They said the IEC bill is indeed controversial as they the National Assembly candidates would be affected.
The proposed new bill was meant to be sent to the National Assembly by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and it has among other things, a high volume deposit that presidential aspirants pay to the electoral institution which would stand at one million Dalasis from the previous sum of D10,000 if passed into law.
As stated in the national Gazette, the bill should be tabled before lawmakers by Mama Fatima Singhateh, the minister of Justice, but that information was rescinded at the last hour and that the bill will now be tabled by Lamin Nyabally, Secretary General and minister of Presidential Affairs. However reasons for the second postponement of the bill are so far not forthcoming as no government official was prepared to share information with the media.