It was expected to be the nucleus of Gambia’s transitional mechanism from an entrenched dictatorship and rampant corrupt public administration to ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability. But the integrity of the current legislature faded too soon than expected when a majority of its members began collecting gifts in both cash and kind, without questioning the sources and motives of those gifts.
It all started when 54 vehicles were paraded and their keys handed to lawmakers in 2017. Only a few then refused to accept the gift since they did not know on what circumstances they were given such cars. The rest took each a car and enjoyed.
Then followed the distribution of money from the president meant to buy the loyalty of lawmakers. Though some claimed they didn’t know why the president gave them the money, yet accepted it. The cash allocation was regularly coming into their pockets on monthly basis.
Very recently, the National Assembly approved a 54.4 million dalasi loan scheme for parliamentarians. It was dubbed ‘building loan’ meant to be distributed amongst the 54 Parliamentarians to construct their houses. The lands in question have been a subject of controversy because it was also an allocation by the executive while the people in the community where it is located, are protesting claiming their lands. The phony loan scheme appeared shocking to the public with a majority of Gambians questioning the relevance of such loans in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic.
In this exclusive conversation, The Chronicle’s Kebba Jeffang critically engaged Hon. Madi Ceesay, Member of Parliament for Serrekunda West on different subjects including these gifts Ceesay called ‘privileges.’
Have a watch!