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HomeBreaking NewsGAMBIA: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PASSES A CONTROVERSIAL EX-PRESIDENT BILL

GAMBIA: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PASSES A CONTROVERSIAL EX-PRESIDENT BILL

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Ex-presidents and their spouses of The Gambia will be granted perpetual pensions, gratuities, and other benefits under a controversial new law that was approved by the National Assembly yesterday.

Upon its introduction before legislators with a certificate of urgency, the bill known as The Former Presidents Bill 2023 sparked a contentious debate among NAMs. As a result, the Speaker was compelled to hold a vote to determine whether the bill should advance to a third reading. Thirty of the forty-seven individuals in attendance cast Yes ballots, while seventeen cast No votes.
The seventeen legislators who opposed the bill advancing to third reading exited the chambers after the vote. The legislature was comprised of members of the UDP, PDOIS, and some independents.

Speaker Fabakary Tombong Jatta commended the NAMs who elected to remain in office for representing the interests of the electorate.
Justice Minister Dawda Jallow, who was supporting a motion to reread the law, stated that many Gambians would not want to see their former presidents spend the rest of their lives in abject poverty. According to him, the measure proposes providing the departing president with a lump-sum gratuity payment for six months in order to ease the transition into life after the presidency.

“While the official function of a president concludes upon assuming office, they maintain their status as a public figure and persist in fulfilling specific formal public responsibilities even after leaving office.” Furthermore, other public personnel, such as those in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, are eligible to receive a pension. “Therefore, it is only proper that a former president be granted supplementary office facilities and a pension to facilitate the performance of responsibilities that arise from his or her official public status,” he continued.

Minister Jallow further stated that in order to display the concluding reverence of the nation, an official state tribute should be held for a former president following his or her demise.
“In order to maintain the honor of the first family, the bill suggests providing the surviving spouse with a monthly stipend of 25 percent, which is equivalent to a quarter of the pension of the deceased former president,” he explained.

“By ensuring a moderate level of comfort in the post-presidential period, the benefits stipulated in the bill will encourage incumbent presidents to voluntarily relinquish their positions, thereby discouraging the protracted extension of their rule, which is a prevalent occurrence in Africa and frequently results in political instability,” he further stated.

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