Besides significant financial assistance from development partners and allies of the Gambia in covering the cost of the Draft Constitution, the whole exercise was uniquely and predominantly Gambian affair.
During the months-long consultation process, many Gambians participated in what was truly a historic endeavor and they did so with great sense of pride and enthusiasm. Buoyed by a common desire to save the country from the turmoil of imperial Presidency, unchecked system of governance and old, unproductive order, men and women of all backgrounds and political persuasion defied every roadblock to express their views freely on how their country should be guided going forward. Amazingly, the team of dedicated professionals at CRC ensured that these thoughts were captured in the draft as they went extra mile to deliver us a Constitution that was generally representative, inclusive and progressive. By and large, there were some legitimate disagreements and questions but nothing egregious to stop it from being accepted by Gambian voters through a referendum…
But in a stark rebuke to our goodwill efforts and an astonishing display of the tyranny of the minority, some members of the National Assembly decided to torpedo the Draft Constitution without merit.
Apparently, those supporting the President were ok to short change Gambians for the exclusive benefit of Barrow and the Executive branch. His administration was aware of the unfolding nefarious scheme by his allies at the National Assembly to reject the Draft Constitution but failed to stop them. Instead, they encouraged and cheered them. It was a cold, stunning collusion with devastating consequences for our country. The failure was decried, derided and condemned by conscientious Gambians but was celebrated and excused by the President’s apologists and his heartened supporters. Not even such a catastrophic national embarrassment was enough to sway these partisan hacks from going on full throttle celebratory mood…
As with many disappointments of similar weight, we counted our cost and began moving on. We’ve come to the realization that in order to get the country the kind of fresh start and reset it so much needs, those who posed existential threat have to be defeated first at the polls. So the focus has since been shifted to areas that will help save our country from those who are holding onto the old pathetic ways and refuse to move the country forward. It’s already in high gear with political parties getting ready for the 2021 elections.
Infuriatingly, however, Barrow and his cabal are not done doing us dirty and making mockery of us. They have now sought the involvement of an ex Head of State of a foreign country to mediate something we have no appetite of entertaining. The Draft Constitution was neither a contest between Barrow and CRC nor between NPP and others, it was a document that had the support and backing of the overwhelming majority of Gambians. We still stand by it.
Thus, the only mediation acceptable to Gambians at this point is for the Draft Constitution, in its current form and unaltered, is resubmitted to the National Assembly and passed. Anything short of that by the President will amount to nothing other than a laughable exercise in futility. Goodluck Jonathan should please take note.
Zakaria Kemo Konteh