By Alagie Manneh
An oversight committee of the National Assembly has said the officials of the Jangjangbureh Area Council (JAC) demonstrated a ‘total lack of respect to its members’.
The select committee on regional government, lands, ombudsman, and IEC visited the JAC as part of its oversight functions of local councils, but said that its members were “seriously confronted”, including their committee clerk, who nearly got assaulted by the councilor for Jangjangbureh ward, Alhagie Foon.
The incident happened early last October, and Wednesday, the committee summoned the JAC members at the National Assembly building to warn them against any repetition of last month’s incident, and to seek an apology from the JAC officials. Turn after turn, the lawmakers condemned the Jangjangbureh incident. The committee told them that it takes issues regarding the councils with the utmost priority.
Speaking to The Standard on the side-lines of the meeting, Kemo Gassama, the NAM for Lower Baddibu, and member of the select committee, said: “The confrontation that happened in Jangjangbureh was so serious that we decided to stop everything and proceeded to Basse. These people, what they were telling us, was that they would want to recognise the powers vested in the National Assembly and that they too are elected members and are our equals. But we are mandated by the constitution to come and see what is happening in their council.”
NAM Gassama added “history must not repeat itself”.
“What they did was completely wrong. It was very unfortunate. Councillor Foon nearly beat one of our committee clerks. He was not respectful to the members. What the JAC did, if we didn’t call them in, it might happen again. They did the same thing to the members of the fifth legislature who were part of this committee and that is why this committee is now looking for an apology from them so that we can open a new page. But they must apologise,” he said.
NAM Gassama advised councils across the country to cooperate with the select committee on regional government, lands, ombudsman, and IEC.
Members of the JAC duely apologised to the committee for their ‘unruly’ behaviour.