By Tabora Bojang The National Assembly Member for Banjul North constituency, Ousman Sillah, has said that the Office of the First Lady was not provided for in the constitution and it should not utilise state resources. Sillah was speaking at the Assembly’s adoption and consideration debates for the 2019 draft budget estimates presented to the house by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. He further argued that it is unjustifiable for the state to sustain an office under the name of the wife of the president since she (first lady) did not have a mandate from the citizens to pursue any specific agendas. Sillah said: “We respect the wives of every person and thus we should treat those of our presidents just as our own spouses but the fact of the matter is that the wife of the president is a private citizen and has a private capacity. She was not elected, so therefore the country should not spend anything on her if she is to escape public scrutiny,” he added. The Banjul North NAM further said there was no need for two permanent secretaries for the office either since they are civil servants working under an office not provided by the constitution and unsusceptible to public scrutiny.“I understand there are two permanent secretaries attached there but she does not need this and the state should not spend anything on that. Never mind some countries are practising it but this is not a good practice or in line with democratic principles”, he said. According to Sillah, the First Lady should be “respected” arguing that if she is put in public glare, she would be susceptible to unjustifiable attacks. He urged parliamentarians to scrap this provision on the draft budget to ensure accountability and transparency in the new democratic dispensation.]]>
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