By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The National Assembly Member (NAM) for Wuli East, Hon Suwaibou Touray has informed Gainako that he spent his D100,000 Clothing Allowance on urgent projects in his constituency. However, his Party Leader and former member for Wuli West, Hon Sedia Jatta disapproves of the clothing allowance.
According to a Standard Newspaper publication, Hon Sedia Jatta was unaware of the clothing allowance passed by the Fifth Legislature, he noted his “surprise when [he] heard about it and did not believe it until [he] saw it in the press”.
Both members are from the same party, the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) and were both elected into the Fifth Legislature in April 2017. Although Hon Touray won a second term in April 2022, Hon Sidia Jatta lost his seat to Hon Nfamara Sabally of the National People’s Party.
The former Wuli West Parliamentarian, [Hon Jatta] recalled that he was aware of clothing allowance being “allocated to Judges and Magistrates and that is for their uniform but for MPs, it’s coming to me as a surprise because I don’t really understand why there should be an allowance for MPs”.
Speaking to Hon Touray he revealed that he invested all of his clothing allowance into his Constituency and added D10,000 from his Committee Allowance to make it a grand total of D110,000 which he has begun ploughing back into urgent intervention areas for his electorates.
The Wuli East Parliamentarian clarified that “this is the first time that NAMs are receiving Clothing Allowance. I believe clothing allowance was given to only the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority and Minority Leaders; the rest of the members did not benefit from clothing allowance. So, the National Assembly Authority this time around, thought it wise to extend it to all members of the National Assembly to avoid discriminating against others.”
Although Hon Jatta was unaware of the passing of the D100,000 Clothing Allowance, Hon Touray recalled that “this time what is put in the budget and it was approved in last August was a clothing allowance of D100,000 for five years. So, it is a one-off”. This means that over a period of 12 years which equates to 60 months NAMs have an average of D1,666.7 to spend each month on clothing.
Hon Touray noted that “some are saying it’s not justifiable, I don’t know [but] I think that to be given D100,000 at one go to buy clothes is not prudent on my side, so I am using that D100,000 for urgent matters from my Constituency. Because I just came from campaign and I know the difficulties that are in my Constituency”.
Hon Touray explained that he plans to spend the D110,000 on various interventions which include;
- 1 Cylinder Pump for Borom Kunda costing D20,000,
- 1 Cylinder Pump for Kodi Kunda costing D20,000,
- Football Gears worth D25,000 of which D15 has already been spent on four communities,
- Fertilisers for Two Women Kafos – D10,000 each totalling D20,000, and
- Support for Physically challenged man, Samba Jallow, 25 years and bereaved – D25,000 to rebuild house destroyed by rain.
Hon Touray noted that during the Campaign period “giving the [youth] football could be considered inducement, we’re not supposed to induce voters, so but I told them that when I get re-elected, they will definitely benefit from my allowances”.
Our reporter questioned the Wuli East NAM about his Party Leader Hon Sedia Jatta being critical of the Clothing Allowance. To this, he noted that “you know people are having different spirit and people think differently but I think that from the rest of the allowances that I’m receiving, and my salary I can afford clothing on my own and for me, the dress is the last priority as far as I’m concerned”.
The Hon member explains that he is used to modest dressing and that he is “forced by circumstances to put on this type of clothing but I never used to put on those clothing. As you know I was an editor at Foroyaa Newspaper, I was a journalist before that and I also reported for Bloomberg and I was a teacher before. So, my profession was modest dressing. So, people will listen to what you’re saying rather than what you put on”.
In conclusion, Hon Touray explained that putting on expensive clothing is “not very important to me but I think that what is rewarding to me is to spend this money on urgent needs of my people at this time. It will not solve everything but at least it will solve some”.