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Halifa Sallah Calls For Empowerment Of Ward Councillors

Halifa Sallah, PDOIS Leader

By Buba Gagigo

The leader of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has called for the Empowerment of the ward councillors in the Gambia.

He said the ward councillors should be given money for community development, instead of the National Assembly Members.

“There was a debate as to resources given to National Assembly Members to bring about development. Which minister will in fact propose such a thing in the first place. To come to a national budget for appropriation. National Assembly Members are not part of the executive and any national assembly Member who told you that he or she has brought about development in your community by being given money is not telling you the truth,” the PDOIS leader said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The former Serekunda National Assembly member stated that Section 28 of the Public Finance Act clearly states that the Clerk of the National Assembly as the vote controller; and not the members.

“National Assembly Members are not given money. They cannot be given money. The budgetary system is clear, the Public Finance Act under Section 28 states very clearly that after budgetary appropriation there are vote controllers. The Clerk of the national assembly is the vote controller. 

“So if you put money under that budgetary system, it is not money of the National Assembly Member, it is there in the budget of the National Assembly and is not given to any National Assembly, is by virtue of appropriation given to it that the National Assembly says this is a project that I want and the National Assembly will follow it through to ensure the money goes where you say it should go,” he said.

Halifa added that in essence, it is the National Assembly that implements that project and the members are just consulted. 

“…And because you have just been consulted you are not being accounted for. But you are the ones who will go and organize who will implement the project. Who knows whether you are honest or not, who knows whether you are not going to make a deal where somebody will dig a borehole for you but a cheap one. And who will determine that you will not say at the end of my term, I will come back to you and you give me Fifty thousand Dalasi for my election. That is promoting self-perpetuating of a National Assembly Member. 

“That is not what a National Assembly member is for. It’s our councils that should receive that funds and that’s what our national assembly Members should fight for. All national assembly Members should agree to ensure that the vote that should come to the council for development increases to be able to address the needs and aspirations of the people in the community,” he concluded.

Halifa Sallah, the leader of PDOIS was the National Assembly member for Serekunda from 2017-2021, when he ceased seeking the post; but PDOIS won 2 seats in the just concluded Councillor election.

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