By Tabora Bojang
National Assembly Members yesterday made divergent recommendations to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).
Member for Wuli East, Suwaibou Touray, said for the parliament to enjoy complete independence from the executive “the president should not select or nominate members because it is the same National Assembly that is required to perform an over sight function and scrutiny over the executive”.
Touray recommended proportional representation for bringing in marginalised groups instead of presidential nominations.
Member for Central Baddibu, Sulayman Saho, suggested that “special bodies” and not the president should nominate members.
He argued that if the president is allowed to nominate, then he would naturally reserve the right to revoke nominations.
NAM for Banjul North, Ousman Sillah, stated: “In order to safeguard the independence of this House, the executive should not have any hand in either the selection or removal of any National Assembly Member.
This should be jealously guarded to safeguard our independence.” He called on the commission to look at sections 102 and 109 of the Constitution to empower the National Assembly by giving it total autonomy in finance to effectively carry out its oversight duties.
Bakary Njie, NAM for Bundungka Kunda queried why the judiciary is independent whereas the National Assembly is not. “Once there is interference from the executive,” he contended, “we cannot do our oversight work properly without fear or favour.”
Saikouba Jarju of Busumbala said the position of the speaker and deputy should be advertised publicly after elections so that the best qualified person could be appointed free of political baggage.
However, Abdoulie Ceesay of Old Yundum said the president should nominate members subject to consultations with marginalised groups.
He said nominated members should compose of persons of high moral and intellectual independence free from political attachments, which therefore obliged the president to make nominations.
Demba Sowe of Niamina West said the president should be given the power to nominate some members. Ousman Touray of Sabach Sanjal and Alagie Sowe of Jimara made similar recommendations.