By Omar Bah
Barely a month after being accused of orchestrating the defeat of the draft constitution at the National Assembly, President Adama Barrow’s cabinet has asked the Minister of Justice to set up a working group to seek consensus on the draft as government begins plans to resurrect the document.
“The president and the cabinet have mandated the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to constitute a working group to start the engagement process to have a consensus on the draft constitution. That shows the commitment of the Gambia Government to this very important process,” Information Minister Ebrima Sillah told journalists at a press conference on Friday.
Ushering in a new constitution was among the Barrow administration’s top priorities.
But that ambition was dealt a setback immediately the executive realised the draft captured provisions that could either lessen the powers of the president or will mean Barrow could only serve one more term after his current term.
However, Minister Sillah said: “The government remains very committed to its reform agenda but it is not prepared to allow things to be done half-heartedly.”
The leader of the Gambia Moral Congress, Mai Fatty has since opined that it will be unconstitutional to resurrect the draft without the involvement of the Constitutional Review Commission.
Minister Sillah said regardless of “whatever is happening, the security sector reform process is ongoing and it will continue to evolve. This is something government is passionate about and committed to. It is our baby and we will continue to give it the necessary attention it deserves including putting resources to it. I want to also appeal to all of us to support our security forces. They are part of us. Let us not antagonise them.”
“A draft bill is coming very soon that will clearly define the role of the National Security Office in the overall government bureaucracy and for the first time we are going to have a National Defence Policy. These are all reform processes that will define the character of our national security reform process. We have also seen for the first time in the history of this country a manual been developed by the Gambia Police Force to help new recruits to understand procedures because most of these people for over 20-years were part of a system that is completely different from what we have now,” Sillah said.