By Omar Bah
Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission, yesterday told journalists that the commission is on course to deliver a new draft constitution in December.
“But what happens thereafter is outside of our mandate. Our mandate is to write a new constitution and then deliver it to the executive and the relevant processes will take their logical course.
We are constrained by the law that has established us and given us the mandate,” he explained.
Asked whether the new constitution will stand the test of time, Justice Jallow replied: “We can write the best constitution, the best laws but if the enforcement mechanisms are weak there is very little we can do.
So I think it is important that members of the media to continue to follow everything about it,” Justice Jallow said.
The Chairman further disclosed that key issues such as the democratic governance of the country, proper management of public finances and accountability in government, strengthening of government institutions, a development process whereby local government serves as a meaningful engine for national development, ensuring adequate checks and balances and adequate protection of the country’s natural environment were very commonly expressed during the public consultations.
“We received wonderful proposals that are guiding us in our efforts to design and build a new Constitution for The Gambia.
We have also received opinions that express frustrations and a desire to make things better for our country.
Some of the opinions will not necessarily find their way into the new draft Constitution,” he said.
However, Justice Jallow added that all opinions and other representations that the Commission received are considered in accordance with the guiding principles enshrined in the CRC Act 2017.
Chairperson Jallow also announced the launching of a technical committee of experts on constitutional law and the technical committee on constitution drafting and report writing.
Chairperson Jallow further reaffirmed that the commission is not faced with any constraints, saying they are fully funded to be able to complete their process within the stipulated time frame.
He defended the Commission’s much criticised external consultations which critics said was a waste of money, saying the benefit overrides the monetary expenditures.
He explained that D18.9M was budgeted for the external consultations but they ended up spending only D14.6M.
Reechoing his comments on the need to deliver the new draft constitution on time, the CRC Vice Chairperson Hawa Sisay Sabally said the commission believes that they will not be forgiven if they seek to extend their mandate, and they are not ready to extend their mandate.