Ex-Presidents Bill gets Parliamentary endorsement
National Assembly Members (NAMs) on Thursday enacted the Former Presidents Bill after going through different stages.
The bill is an Act to establish an Office of the Former President and it is to provide for pension and other benefits to former presidents.
Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Dawda A. Jallow, while tabling the motion, said the bill sought to replace the Former President’s Office allowance and other benefits Act No 16 of 2006, until the president, who is the chief executive of the state upon season to hold office enters retirement without any formal pension from the state.
“This bill proposes an annual pension and office expenses for presidents to maintain the dignity of the office of the presidents. The proposed pension scheme and retirement benefits also provides recognition and gratitude for a former president’s service to The Gambia which does not end with his or her term of office. It is believed that many Gambians will not want to see their former president living the remainder of their lives in destitute,” he justified.
He added the bill further proposes a onetime six months grant duty payment to the outgoing president to assist his or her transition to post presidential life. “Although the formal role of a president ends when he or she leaves office but he/she remains a public figure even after leaving public office and continues to perform certain formal public roles.”
“In addition, other public servants do qualify for a pension including executive, legislature and the judicial branch employees. Therefore it is only fair, that a former president also be provided their pension and with additional office facilities to enable him or her to perform duties that emerge as a result of his or her unofficial public status.”
“Upon their demise the bill entitled a former president official states burial, funeral to accord him or her the nation’s final due respect. To continue to preserve the dignity of the former president’s first family, the bill proposes a monthly allowance equal to 25 percent a quarter of the deceased former presidents pension to be paid to the survivors spouse.”
“Finally by making life after presidency modestly comfortable the benefits provided for in this bill will serve as incentive to sitting president to voluntarily vacate office thereby entice them to avoid undue elongation of their stay in power, a common phenomenon which often hints political instability in many parts of Africa.”
Source: The Point