Assembly summons VP over motion withdrawal

Jul 10, 2020, 11:55 AM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

Legislators at the National Assembly on Thursday summoned the Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray to offer explanation on the withdrawal of the Motion for extension of the state of public emergency for a period of 45 days.

The Gambia government wanted a 45-day state of public emergency extension after the expiry of a National Assembly’s approved 90-day. However, the government intending to table a motion for another extension, decided to withdraw it.

The Serrekunda lawmaker, Hon. Halifa Sallah, who moved the VP’s summon motion, said he wanted to know whether a state of public emergency has been declared since the National Assembly commenced session?

If so, he continued, he wanted to know when was it declared and under what authority?

The veteran legislator further enquired about what emergency powers regulations are currently in force and under what authority?

He further stated that he wanted an explanation on how the executive computes time to determine the expiry date of each of the declaration of a state of public emergency since 18 March 2020?

Honourable Sallah continued that his view was that answers to those questions would provide sufficient evidence for the National Assembly to determine whether or not the executive is acting in line with the spirit of the constitution it has taken oath to respect, uphold and enforce.

"Only the National Assembly is given the power by the constitution to extend a state of emergency so that it would not expire within seven days,” he stated.

The Serrekunda lawmaker also argued that the first declaration of the president should be extended by members of the National Assembly if the motion for extension has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by the votes of not less than two thirds of all the members.

In respect of Hon. Halifa Sallah’s arguments, majority of lawmakers at National Assembly have stated that President Adama Barrow does not have any right to extend the state of public emergency while the parliament is in session.