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Dr Ceesay says rejected draft constitution targeted Barrow

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By Omar Bah

CA party leader, Dr Ismaila Ceesay, has said the rejected draft constitution cannot come back in its current form because it was designed to target one individual [President Barrow].

In September 2020, 23 National Assembly members voted against the D116 million draft constitution, which was supposed to usher in the third republic.

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The government has since expressed its desire to resurrect the draft, and said consultations were underway to that effect.

But speaking to The Standard on the matter, Dr Ceesay who is also a political science lecturer at the national university, argued: “The draft cannot come back as it is because it has some fundamental flaws that must be sorted before it comes to parliament. I was one of those who went to Abuja at the invitation of Goodluck Jonathan to deal with those issues, and I know exactly what happened behind the scenes. I don’t want to go into the details, but you cannot have a law and apply it retroactively by targeting one individual.

“That is not fair. That doesn’t happen anywhere in the world. Obviously, we cannot have that law; if there is a new constitution, the term limit must start at the implementation of that constitution when it comes into force and not just to apply vague laws to target an individual. That is not fair, and we need to consider that,” Dr Ceesay underlined.

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Third term

Commenting on talk of Barrow’s third term bid, Dr Ceesay said the president has all the right to run again if he wishes because the constitution doesn’t prohibit him from doing so.

“I am an advocate of two terms, but that is if it is in the constitution. There is nothing in our current constitution that stops him from running. So, he is good to go,” he added.

Asked whether Barrow should not consider running on the grounds of morality, Dr Ceesay argued: “What I can say is that there is no term limit in the Gambian constitution, so any president, whether Adama Barrow or someone else, if you want to do a third term, I will not say anything about that because it is your constitutional right to do so. If The Gambia has a term limit, we would have been worried. You talked about morality, but morality doesn’t say you cannot run for a third term because all these countries that call themselves champions of democracy – the UK, France, and Germany – don’t have term limits; they have leaders who go beyond two terms.”

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