By Essa Bah
The National Assembly of the Gambia in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy last Friday launched the first ever open forum geared towards bringing the parliament closer to the people. The event brought key speakers who explained in detail the roles of the parliament in people’s lives.
The word ‘parliament’ comes from the French word ‘’parler’’, which means ‘to talk’. A parliament is a group of elected representatives with the power to make laws.
The Gambia’s parliament together with Westminster Foundation for Democracy deemed it necessary to organize such a forum to orient the masses on the functions of the National Assembly.
Speaking on the role of the National Assembly in policy governance and development processes, Halifa Sallah NAM for Serekunda said national development cannot take place in the absence of partnership with parliament. The Serekunda law maker also reiterated the importance of citizens’ votes during parliamentary elections.
‘’ Development is therefore inconceivable without partnership with the National Assembly for passing practical consideration,’’ he said ‘’bills and policies have been scrutinized and tempered to be fit for purpose, misrepresentation has been restrained to closure monitory of public institution and private and development has been fostered’’.
Hassoum Ceesay, a veteran historian narrated about the formation of the first legislature back in the 80s. He stated that the first Majority leader of the national assembly was Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara in 1962.
The maiden open forum was attended by parliamentarians, staff of the National Assembly, students and a cross section of people from all walks of life.
Madi Jobarteh, who is the representative of Westminster foundation for Democracy (WFD) in the Gambia, promised to continue teaming up with other institutions to organize similar events. WFD was established in 2014 to strengthen democracy around the globe.