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Speaker sends defiant Busumbala NAM out

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By Omar Bah

A chaotic start to yesterday’s extraordinary session of the National Assembly questions for oral answers saw the member for Busumbala Muhammed Kanteh being asked out following a heated argument with the Speaker.

The incident happened over a question Kanteh asked the Minister of Environment on whether flood victims whose properties were demolished by the government received any form of compensation.

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“That is a substantial question and you can put it in a parliamentary question for the minister,” Speaker Jatta told the Busumbala NAM.

But the unsatisfied Kanteh replied: “Mr Speaker, I don’t think it is, anyway.”

“Honourable Member, it is not what you think but what the speaker rules,” Speaker Jatta cautioned.

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But a defiant Busumbala NAM retorted added: “Mr Speaker, but the minister has responded and there are compensation aspects in her response.”

“Honourable Member, I asked you for the last time to stop arguing with me,” the Speaker argued.

“I am not arguing with you,” Kanteh responded.

“You can only talk when I give you the floor, otherwise you are arguing. I said you posed a question that is substantive and I said you can put it in a question form and send it to the ministry for them to provide you with answers,” Speaker Jatta pressed.

“What is the yardstick for you to determine whether a question is substantive or not?” Kanteh fired back at the speaker.

“Honourable Member, I thought that as a legal minded person you would have read your standing orders to know what is in order or not, and what the speaker’s powers are. We cannot be arguing about those things,” Speaker Jatta tensely said.

“The speaker cannot abuse his power,” Kanteh shouted.

“This is what I am saying. I am talking to you and you are talking back at me – you cannot do that if you do that, I will send you out,” Speaker Jatta threatened. 

“Send me out, this House doesn’t belong to you,” Kanteh said.

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