By Aminata S Kuyateh
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), in collaboration with the National Assembly, hosted its first town hall meeting on Saturday between NAMs and a section of the citizenry. Held at the Metzy Hotel, the meeting forms part of WFD’s objectives of strengthening the relationship and effective engagement between the National Assembly and the citizens within the broader framework of strengthening democracy and enhancing good governance in The Gambia.
The meeting brought together NAMs from the Assembly’s gender, children and social welfare, and finance and public accounts committees.
The discussions of the town hall meeting were centered around the function of the National Assembly, the work of the two committees, the state of women and children in The Gambia, the management of public finance and the economy in general, and building a more accessible and people-friendly National Assembly.
Addressing the meeting, Ousman Jallow of WFD said the town hall meeting is meant to strengthen democracy and facilitate the accountability of the National Assembly to citizens. “It is expected to raise public awareness about the work of the Assembly and thereby encourage citizen participation in the affairs that concern them,” he said.
Suwaibou Touray, NAM for Wuli East and member of the Select Committee on Gender, Children, and Social Welfare, highlighted the important role the National Assembly committees play in the country.
“The select committee on gender is responsible for strengthening women’s and girls’ rights,” he said.
The NAM for Bundung-Ka Kunda, Sulayman Jammeh, and a member of the Select Committee on FPAC emphasise the vital role of the finance and public accounts committee at the NA. He said the FPAC is responsible for scrutinising and accounting for public money for the government and agencies before any budget allocation is done.
Cherno Ceesay, a youth leader, said the town hall meeting is crucial to bringing the Assembly and citizens together.