By Omar Bah
The National Assembly Member for Jimara has warned government against trying to interfere with matters at the parliament after reports that the executive is increasingly concerned about the conduct and language of some lawmakers towards members of the executive during assembly sessions.
Last week, Finance Minister Mambury Njie faced a barrage of criticisms as he defended virement of already approved funds as normal practice acceptable everywhere.
Few days later, a top government official tipped The Standard that government is concerned about the language of some National Assembly members towards the executive during assembly sessions.
But Alhagie Sowe, the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress NAM, who is representing the president’s native constituency, argued: “The Executive has no power or role to control and discipline the National Assembly and its members in anyway. Where the two disagree in the interpretation or enforcement of the law or their functions, either party can take the matter before the Supreme Court for interpretation. The relationship between the National Assembly and the Executive is guided by the separation of powers principle which is spelt out in the Constitution”.
“The National Assembly bears primary responsibility to check the Executive to ensure they abide by the law and perform their duties efficiently, effectively and transparently. The language of the parliament is guided by the Standing Orders and enforced by the Speaker. The complaint from the Executive undermines the separation of powers principle, and seeks to shut the mouths of lawmakers and directly interferes with their duty to perform oversight functions to hold the Executive accountable,” he argued.
He said the Executive is answerable to the National Assembly, hence they cannot determine what NAMs should say and not say.
“NAMs have been exercising decorum and civility in their deliberations at all times. There has never been an instance when a NAM insulted or impugned the name, person or humanity of a member of the Executive. The Executive should withdraw their statement because it is uncivil, provocative and unnecessary and only intended to threaten NAMs which is unbecoming of the Executive,” he concluded.