By Lamin Njie
UDP NAMs have failed to stop the repealing of a piece of legislation that effectively condemns elected council officials to the four walls of their parties.
National Assembly Members on Friday reconvened to vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ over the Local Government Amendment Bill 2020 – a bill that has seen UDP MPs stood on their own as MPs of almost all the parties at the house pushed for its passing.
Former UDP MP Alhagie Jawara is the man behind the law and he insists the bill seeks to grant independence to members of area councils.
“It will further enhance the system of local governance autonomy, freedom of speech and debate in accordance with Section 193 of the constitution of the republic of The Gambia 1997. The bill also seeks to ensure that council members’ sense of duty, functions and actions are influenced by the supreme national and community interest and the dictates of conscience,” Mr Jawara told MPs shortly before the vote.
Majority NAMs later voted for the deletion Section 19(g) of the Local Government Act.
UDP NAMs had launched a huge fightback in a bid to stop the law being scrapped, insisting it was done in bad faith, and that it was targeted at their party.
The sponsorship of the bill came amid a bitter row between UDP and Brikama Area Council chairman Sheriffo Sonko.
Mr Sonko was a member of the party but was sacked by the party twice, as the party fought to ensure he left his chairman role as sanctioned by Section 19(g).
Lower Baddibu NAM Alhagie Jawara who himself was sacked from UDP, then launched an elaborate bid to ensure the law is totally deleted. This prompted UDP NAMs to claim Mr Jawara’s efforts are targeted at their party.
On Friday however, majority of the NAMs voted ‘yes’ for the law to be deleted from the Local Government Act.