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HomeGambia NewsGAMBIA: HON. MUHAMMED KANTEH QUESTIONED SPEAKER FABAKARY TOMBONG JATTA'S QUALIFICATIONS

GAMBIA: HON. MUHAMMED KANTEH QUESTIONED SPEAKER FABAKARY TOMBONG JATTA’S QUALIFICATIONS

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The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta clashed with the National Assembly Member for Busumbala, Hon. Muhammad Kante for the 3rd time in the first extraordinary session. 

Today’s clash between the two Honourable Members is due to a remark the speaker allegedly made about the member for Busumbala after he was ordered out of the chamber yesterday.

The Speaker of the National Assembly is said to have called the Busumbala NAM “a man with so-called legal background” after he already sent Hon. Kanteh out of the Chambers after a disagreement with him.

In response to the speaker during an adjournment debate, Hon. Kanteh questioned the Speaker’s qualification to warrant him leading the National Assembly. 

“I would draw the Hon. Speaker’s attention to Order 29 of the Standing Order which read, “No member shall be out of order to use offensive and insulting about a member of this Assembly.” Hon. Speaker, Yesterday after our altercation you made a statement by calling me a man with so-called legal background. Hon. Speaker, I want to happily put to you that I went to the University of the Gambia to obtain my degree in law. From there I proceeded to Gambia Law School and was subsequently called to the BAR of this country.

“Hon. Speaker if it is someone that doesn’t have the qualifications it is you with your PTC (Primary Teachers Certificate). Hon. Speaker, you cannot call me a man with so-called legal background. What qualifications do you have to be here, Hon. Speaker, apart from betraying your political father? And also mixing the United Democratic Party (UDP) with Barrow. That is the only qualification you have. That is why you are sitting here as the Speaker today. Hon. Speaker, it is unfortunate if Gambians can have a speaker with that low qualification,” Hon. Kanteh told the Speaker. 

Hon. Kebba Lang Fofana, nominated National Assembly Member stood up on a point of order and the speaker granted him the floor. 

While standing on a point of order, Hon. Fofana indulges the speaker to ask the Busumbala NAM to withdraw his statement by citing order 29 (4) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly. 

“Point of order Hon. Speaker, I am rising on order 29 (4) of the standing orders. It says that it is out of order to use offensive or insulting words about a member of the assembly. I think the Honourable member is out of order. He is being guided by emotions now and his language is rather offensive than objective. Hon. Speaker, I seek your indulgence so that he can withdraw his wordings,” Hon. Fofana told the Speaker. 

The Speaker of the Assembly however sustained Hon. Fofana’s point of order and allowed the Busumbala Constituency NAM to continue with his submission. 

“Thank you very much, Honourable Member, the Honorable member’s remarks are against the Honourable Speaker. I do agree that they have gone up to the extremes. But so as it affects me, I want to beg your indulgence and allow him to continue his submission,” Hon. Speaker responded to Hon. Fofana’s point of order. 

In continuing his submission, Hon. Kanteh categorically told the NAMs that he is attacking the qualification of the Speaker, and not any other NAM. 

“Thank you so much, Hon. Speaker, respect is reciprocal. You cannot downgrade and call me names as a man with so-called legal background. I am not attacking anyone, I am attacking your qualification, Hon. Speaker,” Hon. Kanteh said. 

Hon. Kebba Lang Fofana, Nominated National Assembly Member raised again on a point of order. 

The Speaker again sustained his point of order and allowed the NAM for Busumbala to continue his submission. 

However, Hon. Kanteh did not make any further submissions. 

Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Speaker of the National Assembly then took the floor to address Hon. Kanteh on the issue of standing orders and other related issues which turned into a heated exchange between the two. 

“Thank you very much Hon. Member for Busumbala. Hon. Member, the so-called legal background is not an insult. It only reflects on something that you did at the time. A man who had a law degree, gone to do his masters, and called to the BAR cannot understand the Standing Orders of the Gambia much more the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia. 

“I have on several occasions, try to make you understand that personalities don’t count here and personal differences don’t count here. Let’s all go by the Standing Order that you are now relying on,” the Speaker told Hon. Kanteh. 

Hon. Kanteh rose on a point of order and the Speaker granted him the floor. 

“Point of Order, I am rising on Order 29 (5) no member shall input improper motives on any member. What you are doing now, you are putting improper motive on my statement,” Hon. Kanteh told the Speaker. 

“No one argues with the Chairman or the Speaker of the Assembly,” the Speaker responded to Hon. Kanteh. 

“But Hon. Speaker you are putting improper motive on my statement,” Hon. Kanteh responded. 

“Hon. Member anytime the Speaker intervenes when you are talking, you should sit down,” the speaker told Hon. Kanteh. 

“But that is if the speaker is not against you or he is not being biased,” Hon. Kanteh responded. 

“Whether I am right or wrong if the speaker intervenes you put up your mic and sit down that’s the law,” the Speaker told Hon. Kanteh. 

“But that is if the speaker is not against you or he is not being biased,” Hon. Kanteh responded. 

“You don’t understand me, this is why I said whether you have a so-called legal background,” the Speaker told Hon. Kanteh. 

“That’s why I also said you have only Primary Teachers Certificate (PTC) as the speaker of the National Assembly,” Hon. Kanteh responded. 

“Hon. Member for Busumbala I called your attention for always flouting the Standing Order and continuously interrupting the Speaker when he is talking. I will not recommend your suspension. I want us to stay so that you better represent your people and that is why you are in the Assembly. I am appealing to you, please. I have the right to interject anyone, when I take over please take your seat,” the speaker told Hon. Kanteh. 

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