By Tabora Bojang
Lawmakers yesterday referred the nomination of Musu Bakoto Sawo and Halima Dibba as commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission to the joint standing committees on public appointments and human rights.
The NHRC was established in 2018 with a mandate to promote and protect human rights in The Gambia. According to the Act, the commission shall consist of five commissioners including at least two women. Justice Minister Dawda Jallow yesterday tabled a motion before the Assembly to consider the nomination of either madam Sawo or Dibba to be appointed to fill the vacant position of a female commissioner at the NHRC.
According to the AG, the nomination of the two candidates was done following consultations and vetting by a multi sectoral committee.
“It has been gazetted and the next step is for us to seek the approval of the parliament,” the minister said.
However, member for Serekunda Halifa Sallah raised an objection with the procedure and urged the Speaker to adjourn the sitting to allow the AG to have a second look at the NHRC Act and bring back the process correctly before lawmakers.
But the minister replied in his argument that the government has not contradicted the Commission’s Act on procedures guiding the appointment of commissioners.
“We advertised, gazetted and we were offered with two candidates to choose one, instead of choosing 5 from 9,” he explained.
According to the Minister, the Act requires that 9 candidates be submitted to the lawmakers when appointing commissioners to choose 5 amongst them “but in this situation, a vacancy occurred and it is a seat reserved for a female, so we are not re-appointing the entire commission, we are only appointing one to replace the one that exited.”
Following the minister’s argument with Halifa, Member for Foni Bintang Momodou Camara filed a motion for the Assembly to refer the appointment of either Musa Bakoto Sawo or Halima Dibba to the National Assembly Public Appointment and Human Rights Committee for scrutiny. His motion was seconded and unanimously agreed.