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City of Banjul
Thursday, January 28, 2021

National Assembly Matters:

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Decisions very relevant in good governance and the democratic process: The National Assembly/Legislature, which is the highest decision making body in governance is not only responsible to make or amend laws and pass bills, but it is the body also responsible to critically look into matters that affect the democratic process and good governance. Its role in decision making must always conform to the best interest of the citizenry or the people they represent otherwise their representation may be irrelevant to the responsibilities entrusted to them by the electorate or the people they represent. Therefore the role of the National Assembly is very vital in the provision of good governance and the democratic processes of any progressive society or country. The decision-making body or National Assembly, must at all times be held responsible for the failures of any system of government if representatives do not respond effectively to the responsibilities entrusted to them by law. This ineffectiveness may be attributed to the lack of critical debates, subjective decision-making or opportunist pursuit of political gains and ambitions. These reasons at most undermine effective, critical and objective decision-making and so compromise the value of good governance and democracy. Looking precisely in The Gambia, it has been evident that most of the representatives, if not all, have been elected because of political affiliation, fame or partial influence. The Gambian electorates have at most times been misinformed of the relevant roles expected of their representatives. Therefore very little do the electorate realize the effectiveness of their representatives and nothing do they earn for electing them. Political scientists will agree with the fact that the failure of any executive is at most times due to the poor decisions made by the Legislature or National Assembly. Laws or reforms made and bills passed by Legislature must always give priority to the welfare of the people they represent otherwise risk the support for any given government by the people if they are hostile to public or majority interest. This has been the case in The Gambia. Instead of enacting laws that will promote tax cuts, public incentives and general welfare, the National Assembly has been enacting very hostile laws that suppressed the welfare of the average citizenry, increased more taxes thus making life unbearable to the average citizenry. It is not wise to enact laws or pass bills that will one day victimize you or the people you represent. Better to make genuine friends than friends because of fear. Here in The Gambia are representatives who never advocate for tax cuts in food, clothes or shelter, social welfare and benefits, medi-care etc. These are the issues that affect the people represented and are very necessary for any progressing society or nation. Development can be better realized if the human resources are developed without which development is barely or not realized at all. The National Assembly is not a mere Bantaba to showcase one’s political achievement or influence but a forum to highlight the problems that slow down the progress of any the nation. It is the platform to critically debate problem solutions and take up the best decisions in solving national problems. Although subject to the unanimous decisions of the majority, it must be noted that, decisions taken must also always benefit the majority of the citizenry and not a given group of people or party. Otherwise representatives and decisions may fail the confidence of the people and as well fail the quality of good governance. Now that the country is faced with a political tug of war, it seems there is no existing National Assembly and this is because of its subjective response to interest of the electorates which has always been frail, inconsistent and unaware of its responsibilities. It has always instituted itself as an alien body from the electorate and so has lost the confidence of the citizenry, who have never been taught of the role and responsibilities of their representatives. This has been a serious error which needs to be corrected as the present situation is a learning point for the representatives that the power has always been with the people and not the Assembly. The Assembly must understand that it needs to be the voice of the people so that they can retain power and gain or earn the confidence and respect of the people. It is not about the party you represent but the people you represent; it is not about political authority or status but political obligation and responsibility one owes to the people. It is not only about enacting or passing Laws or Bills but about the general interest and welfare of the electorate or citizenry. It is not about who or what you are but why and how you represent those who voted you in office. It is not about opportunity or selfishness but selflessness, commitment and dedication to one’s role and responsibility. Gambians still wait to hear from their representatives in the interest of the electorate which is peace, political stability and good governance, because so far little or nothing has been voiced by the National Assembly. The Assembly seems speechless as they have been caught unawares and never foresaw or expected these prevailing circumstances. They look ill-prepared for such eventualities and so have very little or nothing to say. This is not what the electorate expects from them as they should have been the best advisers of the parties in the political tug of war. As they have been always responding by swiftly endorsing and enacting Laws and Bills so must they act swiftly to avert any political conflict or misunderstanding. Now that the constitution is the debate, they should have been at the forefront of informing the parties concern as well as the public on the provisions of the constitution as far as the looming situations are concern. If nothing is said or done then it means they are not sincere in the representation entrusted to them by their respective electorates and so far have failed to respond to the needs of the electorate to know the provision of the constitution in this political deadlock or tug of war. Gambians deserve the right to the truth which they need to know immediately to avoid public misunderstanding and misinformation. God bless The Gambia and its people with abundant peace. The only way to achieve peace and political stability is the value for the TRUTH. Celestine Kujabi is a Teacher and Social Activist living in Kanifing South.]]>

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