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City of Banjul
Friday, March 5, 2021

Democracy at work

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The dramatic encounter at the National Assembly last week between deputies and the Vice President is a sign of the coming of age of our nascent democracy. The concept of the separation of powers furthers the checks and balances in the governance structures.

The three arms of government are equals and therefore should accord each other the necessary respect and honour. The Constitution has distributed the powers among the three: the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. Each has its powers and responsibilities to ensure that none abuses its powers.

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In some areas, the pPesident has the power to appoint subject to the approval of the National Assembly. Such is the case of the Office of the Ombudsman. President Adama Barrow appointed Mr Babucarr Suwareh subject to the approval of the Parliament.

When the issue was brought to the House, it was referred to the National Assembly Standing Committee on such appointments who scrutinized and advised the general assembly on the matter. The National Assembly subsequently rejected this appointment.

The Vice President Dr Isarou Touray, who was there on behalf of the president expressed disappointment on their decision. However, many have decried the tone with which she addressed the House. As a representative of the president, and second in line to the high office of the land, she is expected to be measured in her deliberations.

Many citizens were appalled at the way she addressed their representitives. They felt that she was condescending when she spoke to them following their rejection of the president’s nominee for the office of the ombudsman. It is high time the Executive realised the power and position of the House of Representatives.

This is a welcome development in a country which came out of a twenty-two year-long brutal dictatorship. This is how democracy will be built and strengthened for the future generations.

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