Halifa vows to persuade NAMs to rescind decision on draft constitution


By Omar Bah

The secretary general of the People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism, Halifa Sallah, yesterday vowed to engage his fellow National Assembly members to find consensus to rescind their decision on the draft constitution.

In September, lawmakers rejected a draft constitution to replace the 1997 constitution. The document, which was to help reform the country’s governance system, could not secure enough votes at the parliament.


31 National Assembly members voted in favor of the bill to pass while 23 members rejected the new draft constitution.

But the Serekunda NAM on 14 December introduced a bill before the National Assembly seeking the discretion of the Speaker to allow him to move a motion to rescind its decision on the draft constitution so that it will be brought back.

The motion was later rejected by the Deputy Speaker on the basis that the decision of the lawmakers was made on the Third Ordinary Session and not the Fourth Ordinary Session in which Sallah brought the motion.

But the Serekunda NAM said the issues raised by the Deputy Speaker were credible in his (deputy speaker’s) opinion.

“That is his opinion but as far as I am concerned, nothing is more important than the constitutional building process – especially if we consider the D123 million spent on it,” he said.

Sallah said he will continue fighting and hopes that before January, he will be able to find a consensus.

“This was an opportunity but I don’t think it was the only opportunity. We will be exploring opportunities for parliament to act in January to be able to save the constitutional process. I intend to still pursue that and now it offers new opportunities because what is blocked is blocked by the

Speaker. It is not opposed by the Members – so we have not sought the minds of the Members. I don’t know how they would vote on this but I believe many will vote favorably to rescind it,” he said.

The veteran politician said based on the contacts he observed at the National Assembly, he is convinced that a consensus will be met.

“Others opposed it because they don’t know but upon hearing the contexts, many minds will change. Under the circumstances, I would not mind engaging in consultation if I see it in the eyes of people,” he said.

“It is common sense that you cannot have a third republic without a new constitution. The National Assembly had only debated on context and not merit when the draft promulgation was tabled before lawmakers.”

He said his attempt to get the parliament to rescind their decision is necessary because the executive’s road to resurrect the draft could be long and unpredictable.