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City of Banjul
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Halifa disagrees Local Gov’t bill is out to settle scores

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By Momodou Darboe & Mafugi Ceesay

PDOIS’ Halifa Sallah has brushed aside assertions that the Local Government Amendment Bill 2020 has been thought-out to settle scores on any issue.
The amendment bill was yesterday a subject of spirited debate in the legislature as its opponents once again criticized it for, what they said, is its incongruence with procedure, defects in intent and purpose, lack of safe-guards amongst other reservations.
It has been sponsored by Alhagie Jawara of Lower Baddibu and its supporters argued that it would, inter alia, enhance free speech, the independence of local councils, transparency and autonomy.

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Nominated Member Ya-Kumba Jaiteh contended that the decision as to whether the bill would affect the rights of political and corporate bodies as well as associations is subjective. She advised the deputy speaker to consider the legal interpretation of the provision of the bill that says if a bill contains a clause or clauses intended to affect or benefit a particular person, association or corporate body, then in addition to provisions in paragraph one, such bill shall contain a saving clause.

“The bill in question is clearly affecting the rights of political parties. This bill does not contain a saving clause in regards to those rights,” she further contended.
However Halifa Sallah of Serekunda constituency interjected and when given the floor countered that the bill before the assembly is not directed to deal with any issue.
“I am not aware of any issue that has moved me to support this bill. I doubt it would have any impact on any issue on the ground. I think that is a matter left to the Supreme Court,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the deputy Speaker of the House, Momodou Sanneh, ruled that the mover of the bill, Alhagie Jawara of Lower Baddibbu, move it for a third reading to be scheduled by the assembly’s Business Committee after three working days.

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