Deputies reject Barrow’s pick for ombudsman

Legislators at National Assembly on Friday rejected the appointment of Baboucarr A. Suwaneh as ombudsman after he was scrutinised by the Public Appointments Standing Committee.

Minority Leader Hon. Samba Jallow, the lawmaker for Niamina Dankunku who moved the motion, said the candidate Mr. Suwaneh lacks the required public administration qualification and experience. He added that he also lacks the legal judgment or investigative skills as he is a seasoned educationist and not necessarily vast in substantial administrative matters.

He argued that the appointment of an ombudsman must be a person of substantial administrative or investigative knowledge and basic legal experience.

Hon. Jallow thus recommends that the person to be nominated by the president for the appointment as ombudsman should be well versed in public administration with at least a little investigative skills.

He added that the president in considering another person for appointment of the post should put in mind that the person must have high morals and proven integrity and distinguished in public administration and has legal knowledge. He noted that the person to be appointed Ombudsman must have a proven record in public administration with no political affiliation.

Minority Leader Jallow further argued the need for person exercising the functions of the ombudsman to have substantial professional experience as the ombudsman deals with cases that require meticulous and analytical investigation or judgment.

He stated that the person appointed the ombudsman should demonstrate utmost impartiality and neutrality to discharge his or her duty, indicating that the ombudsman shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

In accordance with section 164 of the constitution, he recalled that the president should appoint an ombudsman in consultation with the Public Service Commission, subject to confirmation by the National Assembly.

It could be recalled that the motion for the confirmation of appointment of Baboucarr A. Suwaneh as ombudsman in accordance with section 164(1) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia was tabled by the vice president on Wednesday 18 December, 2019, and it was referred to the Public Appointments Standing Committee per Standing Order 114 for scrutiny and advise.

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