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NA In Partnership With WFD Holds 2nd Edition Of Parliamentary Open Day 

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Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Speaker of the National Assembly

By Ramatoulie Jawo

The National Assembly of The Republic of The Gambia in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on Saturday held the second edition of the Parliamentary Open Day.

The occasion is meant to celebrate the work and contribution of the Legislature in The Gambia. The event was inaugurated in 2022 as a platform where both Members of the National Assembly and staff can share the unique history, role, and work as well as challenges and successes of the August body with the public.

The event brings together stakeholders from both central and local government, development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector, students, and the public with the overarching aim of bringing Parliament closer to the people. 

During his opening remarks, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Fa Bakary T. Jatta, said, the goal of the day is to create the necessary connection and build strong relationships with partners and stakeholders.

Hon. Jatta added that the yearly designation of the day will serve to raise the favorable public perception and enhance public participation and involvement in the work of the Legislature. 

“With greater popular participation and involvement, the work and role of the Assembly and NAMs will be better understood and appreciated, hence overcoming some of the challenges faced by the legislature. Thereby facilitating their roles in representation, law-making, and oversight. This National Assembly Open Day presents an opportunity for the people of The Gambia to know more about their Legislature. 

“How it has evolved, the leaders who guided our country before, during, and after independence to help them develop their own conceptions and interpretations of parliamentary democracy and its principles. Most importantly, they will also know how they can engage with their elected representatives and meaningfully contribute to the democratic processes,” he said. 

The Speaker further urges the people to take advantage of the event to clear every perception they might have about the legislature.

The clerk of the National Assembly Momodou A Sise said a day like this demonstrates the commitment of the Legislature to being a more open and accessible institution to the public, and further denotes an improvement in service delivery and promotion of citizen engagement.

The WFD Country Representative, Madi Jobateh, said they are glad to be part of the initiative and further thank the leadership of the National Assembly for giving them the space they need. 

Hon. Fatoumatta Jawara, a Nominated Member, said it is a fact that even though women form the majority of the population in most countries, they are still been marginally represented at all levels of decision-making.

“Women also continue to be the worst afflicted by poverty and high illiteracy levels. It is also unfortunate that women experience several other forms of violence including battering, sexual abuse, exploitation, rape, and defilement, to mention but a few,” She stressed. 

Hon. Sedia Jatta, a former National Assembly Member who served as the Guest speaker, highlights the importance of parliament. 

“Much depends on the parliament if you go to any country. However, that country, if it is good, looks at the parliament. If it is bad, look at the parliament in that country. Because everything depends on the parliament. However bad a country may be, if you look at the parliament in that situation, it is a bad parliament. However good the country may be, look at the parliament, and it is the origin of that. So that is why we should give utmost importance to the parliament and who goes to the parliament,” he said.

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