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Sunday, October 1, 2023

CRC begins 3rd leg of public consultations in WCR


By Baba Sillah The Constitutional Review Commission yesterday commenced the third leg of its public consultation tour in Foni Bondali, West Coast Region. The CRC was established earlier this year by President Barrow with a mandate to review the 1997 constitution. He gave the eleven commissioners eighteen months to review and draft a new constitution. And natives of Bondali turned out in their large numbers to contribute and sound their views as how they want the constitution to be drafted. They described the process as “a symbol of true democracy”. Araba Bojang, a ward councillor, appealed to the officials to include allocation of monthly salary to the councilors. Bojang also demanded for the control of mining sites be under the care of the area councils. The people of Bondali called for presidential term limit and participation of Gambian diaspora in national elections. On the appointment of traditional rulers, they stressed that district chiefs and village heads should not be appointed by the president or even participate in politics. However, there was clash of opinions on the appointment of regional governors. While some are of the view that they should be appointed by the president, many others equipped that they should be elected by the people. “The chairman of IEC should not be appointed by the president rather, appointment should be done by a special body. The chairman of IEC, the president and ministers should declare their assets before appointment. The chairman of IEC should serve a two-term of five years. Regional governors and chiefs should be elected by the people and not the president otherwise they will only serve the interest of the president,” a participant told the CRC officials. On the level of qualification required for citizens to vie for seats in the National Assembly and the presidency, a good number called for a bachelor’s degree as the minimum qualification, while others said it should be a high school leaving certificate. They called for the formulation of a law restricting the president from setting up foundation (s), to avoid what they referred to as “conflict of interest”. They equipped that the use of marble be maintained instead of paper system, considering the literacy level of the country. The use of local languages during proceedings in parliament was also demanded since majority of rural communities do not understand the language used by their representatives.]]>

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