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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Minority Leader welcomes new powers to the Assembly

By Omar Bah

The Minority Leader and member for Niamina Dankunku has welcomed the new powers given to the National Assembly by the new constitution.
Samba Jallow said the additional powers which compel the executive to seek parliamentary approval for virtually everything will give legislators the necessary authority to properly check the executive.

“I think that’s how it should look like because the executive has all the money and security. They have everything at their disposal. Therefore, in every system of proper governance the National Assembly must have all the necessary constitutional backing to ensure that they perform all the necessary oversight function on top of the executive,” he told The Standard.

However, The Standard understands that cabinet had expressed concern about the powers given to the legislature in the draft and had asked for it to be revisited.
But Jallow argued: “I am going to defend that clause. I might not defend everything in that draft just like my fellow members. We all have certain interest to protect but for me, even if not for this constitution, when it comes to governance, I will prefer the Assembly to have the power and fortitude to put pressure on the executive to deliver”.

On reports that the president might not be happy with some of the provisions in the draft, Jallow said: “I don’t want to pre-empt myself. The draft is with the president and until he submits it to the National Assembly, it will be premature for me to comment on it because whatever I tell you today should commensurate with whatever I should say at the National Assembly when the draft is tabled before us. This is why I would not want to comment on it now”.

“I am a legislator. I must be very careful because whatever I say here will be documented. I don’t want to give my opinion now while the document is not legally presented at the National Assembly. I will reserve my opinion,” he said.

The senior NRP member also took advantage of the interview to praise government’s response to contain the spread of the Covid-19.
“Although our health sector is very poor, the Ministry of Health has done tremendously well to contain the spread of the virus. Yes, I agree that the number of testing has been very low. But I think generally the government has done a fantastic job,” he said.

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