Jun 16, 2008, 5:15 AM
Following our yesterday's front page publication of a statement by the United Democratic Party condemning the suspension of Hon. Babanding Daffeh, National Assembly Member for Kiang Central by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the office of the Speaker yesterday sent in a rejoinder clarifying its position on the matter.
Below we reproduce the full text of the Honourable Speaker's rejoinder:
"Following the publication in the Point newspaper edition of
Follows; That the publication was false, malicious and misleading, That there was no suspension handed to Hon. Babanding K.K. Daffeh as alleged by the newspaper; That the Honourable Speaker has only implored on the Hon. Member to desist from using abusive languages to public officers who cannot defend themselves in the National Assembly and that the Honourable Speaker was conscious of the fact that NO MEMBER can be suspended without the question being put to the House.
The office of the Honourable Speaker expressed with dismay that the UDP headed by a Lawyer would refer to the Honourable Speaker as non-elected Member clothed with title of 'Speaker' to suspend an elected Member from any sitting of the National Assembly... as quoted in the second paragraph of the said publication. Section 93 (1) of the Constitution states that the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Deputy Speaker shall be elected by Members of the Assembly from among the Nominated Members. Notwithstanding that the Speaker is nominated, is vested with all the Constitutional powers required for the conduct of the National Assembly.
In view of the above and contrary to the statement, the Honourable Speaker was only executing her role as the Chair which includes regulating the proceedings and conduct of Members during Sessions.
The general public is therefore informed that the Honourable Speaker-has not handed out any suspension to Hon. Babanding K.K. Daffeh and that the newspaper allegation was totally erroneously, unfounded and misleading. In essence, if a suspension was to be handed down, a motion would have been moved upon which the Honourable Speaker would put the question for the suspension of the said Member. Section 45 (4) of the Standing Orders refers.
The non-partisanship of the present National Assembly is unprecedented in the history of the Assembly and that the office of the Honourable Speaker will not succumb to the dictates of rejected politicians or failed political parties who are left with nothing but speculate in the media. Once again this is yet another calculated move by the same rejected or failed Political Parties to mislead the Gambian people. The National Assembly under my leadership will only succumb to the will of the Gambian people and not selected few.
The government under the present leadership has prioritized education and that the Gambian public is more enlightened now than ever before and cannot be misled by unscrupulous politicians or failed Political parties".
The above rejoinder by the office of the Speaker of our National Assembly is reproduced verbatim for the information and appreciation of the public.
It is certainly good to know the position of the Speaker's Office regarding the points raised by the UDP so that the public is enlightened and could eventually arrive at their own conclusions on public matters of which they are the true owners and legitimately have a right to know, as guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution.
The only little correction we want to make about the Speaker's rejoinder is that the Paper has in fact not alleged anything in this matter, as alleged in one of the statements of the Speaker's Office, beyond presenting to the public the exact words of the authors of the article under consideration.
We did not even refer to reliable sources; but we presented the source clearly and fully. We are sure that the Speaker's Office has provided useful clarifications for the information and consideration of the general public and the UDP Secretariat also. This really is the role of the media: to enable public awareness. Otherwise we have no part in this issue, and have not commented on it at all or have any views whatsoever on the matter.
It is hoped that this point could be appreciated by the Office of the Honourable Speaker.