By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Gambian President, H.E. Adama Barrow delivered his 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in front of Gambian Parliamentarians in Banjul highlighting some of the laws that his government has pioneered through the National Assembly. Some of them he claimed were enacted in 2022, however, our FactCheckers have observed that at least one of his claims is false.
Last year the President falsely claimed that The Gambia was the only country set to meet the global temperature goal of 1.5’C. This year our FactCheckers have continued to scrutinise the President’s 2023 SONA.
Claim: According to the 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Adama Barrow, yesterday 8th June 2023 “in 2022, several Acts were enacted, such as the Disabilities Act, and The Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act”. In addition to that the President highlighted that “the Anti-Corruption Bill is with this august Assembly for consideration”. Watch a short excerpt in the video link below.
FactCheck: Our FactCheckers monitor Parliament and regularly conduct interviews with Parliamentary Staff and Parliamentarians. One of the interviews covered at the start of the year specifically focuses on Bills passed by the National Assembly in 2022.
The Bills which were passed in 2022 can be divided into two parts with the first set of Bills passed before February 2022 when the Fifth Legislature concluded their term. The second set of Bills passed in 2022 came after Parliamentarians of the Sixth Legislature were sworn in back in April 2022. The 2022 Legislative year ended with the last Parliamentary session towards the end of the year.
According to an exclusive interview conducted with the Deputy Clerk in Charge of Legal and Procedural Matters Mr Khalipha MM Mbye six Bills were passed in the 2022 Legislative Year. Three were passed by the Fifth Legislature and another three by the Sixth Legislature.
Fifth Legislature Bills Passed in 2022
- The Appropriation Act 2022,
- The Public Service Pension Act 2022 and
- the Information and Communication (Amendment) Act 2022.
Sixth Legislature Bills Passed in 2022
- The Appropriation (Amendment) Act 2022,
- The Gambia Public Procurement Act 2022 and
- The Capital Markets 2022
So, if the Disabilities Act was not passed in 2022, when was it passed? To ascertain this our researcher interviewed the National Assembly’s Deputy Clerk in Charge of Legal and Procedural Matters and the President of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD).
The Deputy Clerk informed our medium that the Persons with Disabilities Act “was passed in 2021, precisely on the 6th of July. It was assented to on the 25th of July”. Asked when the Bill was tabled and the Deputy Clerk responded that “the first reading was done on 17th of June 2020”.
Our reporter spoke to the GFD President Magistrate Krubally, who also confirmed that the Persons with Disabilities Act was “actually Approved by Parliament on 6th July 2021 and was Assented to by President Adama Barrow on 25th July 2021”.
The GFD President also revealed that a Council has been established which he is part of as the GFD President. This is further confirmed by a publication written by Article 19 which corroborates the claims that the Persons with Disabilities Bill was approved and assented to in July 2021.
Verdict: This is not the first time that the President made false or misleading statements in Parliament. After the President delivered his 2022 State of the Nation Address last year our reporter published an article highlighting that the President’s claims that The Gambia was the only country set to meet the Global Temperature Goal of 1.5’C was false.
During this 2023 SONA, President Adama Barrow wrongly claimed that the Persons with Disabilities Act was enacted in 2022, however, he was correct that The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) Act 2022 was enacted last year. The GPPA Act was approved after the President submitted a Certificate of Urgency for Parliament to approve the new Bill governing Procurement.
Verdict: President Adama Barrow’s claim that the Disabilities Act was enacted in 2022 is false. In fact, the Persons with Disabilities Act 2021 was approved by Parliament on 6th July 2021 and Assented to by the same President Adama Barrow on 25th July 2021.