Alagi Yorro Jallow
National Assembly’s purpose is to instill pride into electorates or people who were sinking into a self-destructive inferiority complex due to years of abuse and suppression. It is quite challenging to hear and read the kind of things they spoke about as lawmakers – deeply reflective, extensively read beyond their discipline, incorruptibly concerned about the country, and with high clarity of mind. Even if it were true that their motivation is selfish gain, we would imagine that their cumulative experience would have advised them to choose better, even at high risk. Wine is said to get better the longer it stays, but some of our politicians are aging like milk without preservatives.
The Honourable Member for Lower Baddibu, Alagie Jawara, sponsored a Member’s Bill, seeking to amend the Local Government Act under section 19(1) (g). Section 19(1) (g) of the Principal Act, which the Bill seeks to delete, reads: “..a person shall cease to be a Member of a Council –
(g) If he or she ceases to be a member of a political party of which he or she was a member at the time of his or her election.” Thus, the Member’s amendment Bill seeks to delete the entire paragraph (g) section 19(1) of the Act, to enable Council Members to be free from the dictates and control of their party leaders and further strengthen them to execute their functions without the fear of losing their seats in the Council when they sacked by their party.
Halifa Sallah Member for Serekunda Central supporting a bill sponsored by the Member for lower Badibou said the national interest is ‘supreme’ as he lent his voice to whether a bill that seeks to grant independence and freedom to elected local government officials should be approved.
“We all have interests, but the national interest is supreme. We should not accuse each other as to who is really sincere in promoting the national interest. That is for the people to decide, they are listening,” Halifa Sallah said in support of the hugely controversial Bill sponsored by Alhagie Jawara.
“So Honourable speaker, I will be brief here: what we are talking about is a conception of democracy that has been captured by Section 112, and we must make that to live. It shows that, while you are at the party, you are within the democratic principles of the party, but when you are elected. You become a president, or you become a national assembly member or a councilor, there should be a separation of party and state. Because now you are running machinery that is not a piece of partisan machinery, it is national machinery. So, therefore, the party should not influence the running of the state.
The motion, tabled Monday in the National Assembly by Hon Alagie Jawara of Lower Badibou, makes it very clear that we could, unfortunately, beheaded for partisan support of the Bill. It is noteworthy that in Gambia ‘s fractious and unruly National Assembly, this Bill has enjoyed bipartisan support. There was much speculation that a lot could happen if you had watched national television and on social media live streaming. You would have thought it was the last day of the legislative session, referring to fears among the legislator’s ranks that the Bill would be unable to be passed. The Bill finally passed the hallowed chambers and, if assented to by President Adama Barrow that no more member of an Area Council will lose his or her if he or she ceases to be a member of the party at the time of his or her election.
I want to draw lessons from what the American system went through during President Donald Trump’s impeachment process before the House and the Senate chambers. House Democrats brought two articles of impeachment against President Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and the manifest injury of the people of the United States of America.
I should dwell on lessons for our politicians from abroad, from the United States’ politics of impeachment and acquittal of President Donald Trump. Senator Mitt Romney was the man of the Trump trial moment at the US Senate. I should write that he cast the pacesetting lone defecting vote against his party and damned all consequences. “I cannot ignore my conscience. I cannot say that what is wrong is right,” he told his interviewer as he vowed to “do what is right and let the consequences follow.” I wanted to say that Gambian National Assembly members should meet him and be taught some good sense. However, just this moment, I remember that it is the American who needs to come here to learn how democracy works.
When the United States Congress initially impeached President Donald Trump, a friend told me if it were in the Gambia, two things would have happened: the opposition legislators would have taken bribes from the President and given him a clean bill of health. Next would be those other l lawmakers asking the President for ‘support.’ Next would be firmly girding the President with battalions of state-trained, state-funded thugs to supervise the abortion of the process. One or more lawmakers would gracefully stroke the mustache of the law, stroll into the chambers with hired roughnecks, casually take the mace and smash it on the stubborn head of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That would have ended the matter. Alternatively, their senior brothers in the hallowed chambers may beg them not to eat alone. They would ask the House to pass the juicy process to them for their squeeze. Then the lawmakers, across party lines, would demand and take millions from ultra-rich Trump and millions from his opulent enemies – and then split their votes. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who presided over the impeachment trial, would be in his secure room counting his gold coins, gains from a very bounteous harvest. After all, the butcher should not have any regard for the breed of the beast. That is the system we run.
Romney voted for the sack of Trump and then rushed home to explain why he did what he did. Why did he have to explain anything to anyone? “Yeah, it is going to get very lonely,” he told Fox News’, Chris Wallace. “And again, the consequences are significant.” Moreover, what consequences was he talking about? The worst fear he can nurse is his rejection by his party. If that happens, tell him to cross to the Democrats. We do that in the Gambia; it is the next sensible thing to do.
Moreover, what if his conservative constituency in Utah is made to attempt to reject him in the next election? Here, there are no fears; fear is dead – except he is a chop-alone fool. If he needs to rush home at all, it is to host a thanksgiving service, pay his tithe to the godfather and hand out dividend envelopes to smaller investors in his political business. There are no consequences anywhere here.
However, from the Presidential Villa, consequences would be mailed to Speaker Pelosi for all she did. She is a witch, a grisly eater of the liver, head, and heart in a bowl of blood. Her election into Congress would be revisited. A member of her Democratic Party would go to court to challenge her nomination; a federal judge with questionable assets is there to try the case. A judgment should be ready, ex parte, tomorrow, annulling the entire process that made her a lawmaker. She would be alone and lonely. When you slaughter a stubborn pig right there in a pigsty, others would learn to be calm and sorry.
I want to go on drawing lessons from what the American system went through with the Trump impeachment process. Nevertheless, then, there are more important lessons to learn from the misfortune of being a Gambian. Furthermore, the police appeared to be ready with an ingenious answer for policing. Didn’t American writer, poet, and literary critic, Catherynne Valente, tell her readers to trust only in a witch when they require miracles? The short night is machine-spirits, spooks from the world of witches and wizards.
Alagi Yorro Jallow