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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Dr Jagne advises Barrow to bring back draft constitution and not seek new term

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By Alagie Manneh 

Former APP leader now PDOIS stalwart, Dr Ebrahim Jagne, has called on President Barrow to re-introduce the rejected draft constitution, have it adopted, and then step down at the end of his current term.

The US-trained medical doctor turned politician said tdoing so will burnish the legacy of the president and put The Gambia’s democracy on an unshakeable foundation.

Dr Jagne is the latest political figure to join a growing chorus calling on the president not to seek a third term by stepping down in 2026, and follow in the footsteps of his friend President Macky Sall of Senegal.

Dr Jagne argued: “We all know that the 1997 Constitution is a dictatorial constitution. I think the president should have wisdom and know that Gambians want a new constitution. He should reintroduce the draft, take it the House and make it into a law.

“A tenure of two terms should be enough for any head of state. I think President Barrow should seriously reconsider his decision. He came into power on the basis of a coalition which agreed on a three-year period. But that was thrown out for five years. Now he is in another five years, and wants to go for another five years after that. That’s like going back to the same situation we fought to eliminate under the Jammeh dictatorship.

“The president will be even more respected internationally and admired if he were to step down at the end of his current tenure. I think it’s the wise thing to do. That is what he is supposed to do. [In 1997] Gambians wanted change, yet we are still going by the same constitution that Jammeh put in place seven years later. The whole thing makes no sense. Barrow should re-introduce the draft and step down at the end of his term. That is my advice to him.”

Commenting on President Sall’s decision not to contest the 2024 election, Dr Jagne said: “I wouldn’t congratulate him. I would congratulate the Senegalese population. The Senegalese constitution said he cannot contest for a third term. My question is, why did the decision take so long? Many Senegalese were killed and so many properties were destroyed. This is the problem in Africa; we take leadership to be personal. It’s not yours. You are there to serve a purpose and then move on.” 

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