CRC urged to omit clause that bars convicts from contesting

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By Omar Bah

The Constitutional Review Commission has been urged to omit subsection (2) (b) of the draft constitution that bars convicted persons from contesting elections or specify the type of convicts.

According to that particular clause of the new draft constitution that is currently a subject of public review, a person convicted by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction of an offence involving dishonesty or immoral conduct; or any other offence for which the prescribed penalty exceeds twelve months is disqualified for election as president.
But speaking at one of the CRC consultations in Kaur, Lamin Jawara, a senior citizen said the provision should be omitted from the constitution because it will unfairly deprive political prisoners of contesting elections.

“Governments that are afraid of opposition politicians can easily create commotion and send their opponents to prison just to disqualify them from contesting elections. So it should not include political convicts or it should be removed entirely. It is not just for those who might be affected now but any future president can use it as a tool against his or her opponents,” Jawara said.