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Concerned Gambians Seek Police Permit to Protest against Judicial & National Assembly Officers’ Remuneration Bills

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National Assembly Chambers

By: Ousman Saidykhan
A group of “concerned” Gambians have submitted a letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) seeking permission to organize a peaceful demonstration against the Judicial Officers’ (Remuneration and Other Entitlements) Bill, 2024, and the National Assembly Salaries and Pensions Bill, 2024.

The group leader, Momodou Lamin Manjang, confirmed that the latter, seen by this medium, was delivered to the Police Headquarters in Banjul on Monday, July 1, 2024.

“We hope we will get [permit], but if we are denied for our rights, then we will come back as executive and decide what to do next. But all I know is nothing will stop this protest from happening,” the 3rd-year student of UTG said.

If their request is granted, the group will begin their “peaceful protest” on July 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. outside the National Assembly premises.

“The protest will include speeches, banners, and peaceful assembly. We assure you that all activities will be conducted in a non-violent manner, with respect for public order and the rights of all individuals,” said the latter addressed to IGP.

According to Mr. Manjang, they will only back down once they drive home their demands.

In their request, the “Concerned Citizens” said they advocate social justice, transparency, and equitable governance in the Gambia.

They believe the top government officials are distributing national resources amongst themselves, leaving the ordinary citizens wallowing in poverty.

The National Assembly Salaries and Pensions Bill is set for First Reading on July 4. The Bill seeks to repeal the existing law on the emoluments of National Assembly Members and provide a new legislative framework for payment of their salaries, allowances, gratuities, and pensions.

If this Bill passes, lawmakers will go home with sums the Concerned Citizens believe are “excessive.”

Meanwhile, the Judicial Officers’ (Remuneration and Other Entitlements) Bill, 2024, scheduled for a Second Reading on July 15, addresses issues of what the justice minister called “inadequate remuneration” of Judges in the Gambia.

The Judicial Officers’ Bill, 2024, was first brought to the Parliament in 2023 but was rejected by Lawmakers. Some referred to it as a “volcano” to Gambians.

The Justice Minister, Dawda A Jallow, brought the Bill back to Parliament with some amendments, hoping it would be passed this time.

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