Minority leader and member for Brikama North, together with his party members, yesterday boycotted discussions over ‘Former President’s Bill’ in parliament.
Hon. Alagie Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP), and his party members in parliament, disagreed with other members in parliament over the passing of the bill, saying “We are not in support of the bill for the former presidents to be given allowances, cares and other privileges, while we have citizens who are suffering day by day.
“It is impossible for us to support the bill. The reason they went ahead with the bill is because we are the minority in the parliament and as such they always do what they feel like.”
The minority leader and others boycotted the debate of the bill on the grounds that it’s not fair for the former presidents to enjoy life after presidency while citizens continue to suffer. He said they would “never be part and parcel of such a decision”.
Hon. Suwaibu Touray, member for Wuli East, from the opposition PDOIS, said they decided to move out of the Assembly chamber because they were opposed to the bill as “first of all, it is not a bill that deserves a certificate of urgency”.
He added: “There is no reason that the minister has advanced to show that this bill deserves a certificate of urgency, and the President simply adds this bill to the other bills to say they have certificates of urgency.
“In my opinion the only bill that requires urgency is the Reparation Bill. The victims of human rights violation have been sitting all these years waiting for their reparations, and those reparations are in many folds: one is monetary reparation and the other is rehabilitation, and we also have satisfaction. But this particular bill has no reason advanced that calls for a certificate of urgency.”
Hon. Member for Serekunda West, Madi Ceesay, also dilated on the same issue, saying: “We are not in support of the bill; the expenditure is too much to be given to an individual and their family members.
“The main reason we left the chambers is because we cannot take a decision which is not in the interest of the citizens. The Anti-Corruption Bill too was presented yesterday. We know the voice or decision of the citizens is in our hands; therefore we the members of UDP are not in support of the Former Presidents Bill.”
However, Hon Fatou’ Touma’ Njai, NAM for Banjul, agreed with the Former Presidents Bill, saying: “I am not against the bill because it only doesn’t encourage the president to step down, but it also gives them encouragement while still serving their nation. Life needs to be comfortable for the presidents; they deserve to live a good life during and after serving in office.”
National Assembly member for Foni Kansala, Hon Almamy Gibba, said the bill should be put into consideration, but also tasked the minister for Justice to be “fair and transparent”, elaborating: “It has to start from 1965 to 2016 – all the former presidents deserve to enjoy from the bill. It will not be fair if it is considered at one side only.”
He added: “If we dismiss this bill, let’s consider that any of us can be the next president of this country. Also, you cannot change the bill, as it has already been approved by the parliament.”
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202311050042.html
Author : [email protected] (The Point)
Publish date : 2023-11-05 21:59:15