By Omar Bah
The executive director of Gambia Participates, a civil society organization fighting against corruption, has urged the government to immediately reintroduce the anti-corruption commission bill after the Speaker resolved the debacle surrounding all the pending bills.
Yesterday, the Chairperson of the Standing Orders Committee of the National Assembly and member for Old Yundum Constituency, Abdoulie Ceesay tabled a “Point of Order” about the consequences for unfinished parliamentary businesses in the dissolved National Assembly.
Responding to his request, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Fabakary Tombong Jatta ordered: “All incomplete or unfinished government bills or other businesses of the Fifth Legislature may be reinstated or reintroduced subject to a motion by the person-in-charge with notice, before the National Assembly on each of the bills or businesses requesting for a carry-over.”
The Speaker further ordered that the timing of reinstatement or reintroduction of all the bills or business carried over to a successor National Assembly be decided by the Assembly Business Committee in consultation with the person-in-charge.
He also ordered that the Standing Orders Committee consider reviewing the Standing Orders on the matter with a view to proposing an amendment to expressly codify this convention before the Seventh Legislature to establish a special procedure for carrying over legislation and other businesses from a dissolved National Assembly bearing in mind this ruling. Finally, the Office of the Clerk immediately notified all the affected persons or bodies regarding this ruling.
Reacting to the Speaker’s ruling, Marr Nyang said the Speaker’s decision is a welcome development but he is worried about when the government will reintroduce these bills especially the Anti-corruption Commission Bill. “That is my concern now as to how soon the Minister will swiftly respond to that call for him to retable the bill,” he said, arguing that “there is no issue that is more urgent than the anti-corruption bill”.
He said without an anti-corruption commission the poor public service delivery and mismanagement of public funds Gambians complain about will continue to happen.
The other bills that require reintroduction are as follows: Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters 2019, Labor Amendment Bill 2020, Force Labor Amendment bill 2020, The Gambia Nationality & and Citizenship bill 2020, International Crimes bill 2020, Criminal Offences bill 2020, Criminal Procedure bill 2020, Tourism Offences Amendment bill 2020, Skin Bleaching Prohibition Repeal bill 2020, Prevention and Prohibition of Torture bill 2020, The Gambia Public Procurement Authority bill 2020, Criminal Offences bill 2020 and Criminal procedure bill 2020.