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Kandeh warns passing Judicial Officers Bill could end Barrow’s reign

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By Omar Bah

Mamma Kandeh, the leader of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress, has issued a stern warning to President Adama Barrow that the passing of the Judicial Officers Remuneration Bill will end his presidency.

The controversial bill was first tabled in September 2023, seeking to make provisions for the enhancement of the salaries, allowances, and pension entitlements of judicial officers. It also seeks to regulate the conditions of service of judges of the superior court and judicial staff. It was, however, thrown out by members of the National Assembly, who voted 21 against 18 to ditch it.

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But the government introduced it again last month as the Judicial Officers Remuneration and Other Entitlements Bill, 2024.

Commenting on the bill in an audio shared with The Standard, Mr. Kandeh warned that the government should be mindful of pushing Gambians to the limit.

“This is our government; this country belongs to all of us. You must not underestimate the people who elected you into office. The unbecoming behaviour of this government is getting out of hand now. Enough is enough,” Kandeh said.

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He said the bill is inconsiderate of the plight of the Gambian people, especially at a time when the world is battling with economic challenges.

“Mr. President, if you are not careful, this bill will cost you your presidency, and it will be a blunder for you,” Kandeh advised.

On the drafters of the bill, Kandeh said: “People cannot sit there and unabatedly continue milking our resources. You are only thinking of how to improve your living standards, to the detriment of our young people. This was not the reason you were elected. The Gambian people are tired of this nonsense.”

Kandeh said he hopes the National Assembly will not be ill-informed enough to pass the bill.

“I want to tell all the National Assembly Members that this bill is not in the interest of the Gambian people. If you allow it to pass, it may result in unforeseen consequences. I am very serious about this. We are tired of your ill-advised actions. You cannot continue to only care about how to fatten salaries to the detriment of a country’s future. That cannot happen,” he said.

Kandeh reminded the National Assembly that a good number of Gambians are going to bed every night with empty stomachs.

“The plight and wellbeing of the people should be the preoccupation of every serious government. I want to advise the National Assembly to remember that it is us who put them there, and our interest should supersede any other interest,” he added.

The GDC leader concluded by apologising to Gambians for his hash words but maintaining he meant everything he said because the situation calls for drastic measures.

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