By Mafugi Ceesay
House Minority Leader, Samba Jallow, has told The Standard that the Constitutional Review Commission wanted to “quickly get rid of” President Adama Barrow.
Speaking in a Standard exclusive, the Dankunku representative said the commission targeted the president because of its failure to reflect in the draft constitution, the people’s desire for Barrow to govern the country for ten years. “They only put their own position or a particular group’s position for Barrow to serve only one term after winning the next election.”
Jallow is a kingpin of NRP, which has allied itself with the president’s NPP.
He said there is “intellectual dishonesty” in the country with people going around feeding disinformation to the masses.
“Gambians asked the CRC to leave Barrow to continue for ten years, but they [CRC] reduced it to one. The people also asked them to close the age limit of the president, they decided to leave it open. So this is an indication that they did not represent the people but the group they are serving. They [CRC] only wanted to quickly get rid of Barrow. That’s why they changed the people’s position for Barrow to serve ten years,” Jallow said.
He said both the draft and 1997 Constitution agreed that a law that is discriminatory cannot be passed in the National Assembly.
According to Jallow, the rationale for repealing a legislature is to make sure what you are bringing is better than what was existing.
“I disagreed with the people that the 1997 Constitution is a bad one. Remember, this is the Constitution we used for more than two decades and it’s the same one used to remove Jammeh from power. If I am told it’s bad, I have to look at what is coming in and make sure it’s better than the 1997 Constitution.”
He said the draft constitution was replete with defects and inconsistencies and was discriminatory and biased in favour of members of the judiciary.
“It is very clear that the Assembly cannot pass any bill that has retroactive effect on a vested and acquired right. The draft constitution was only a bill, and the existing constitution was telling us that we cannot do such a thing.”
He said if the Assembly had made the mistake and passed the draft, citizens would have mounted challenges in the courts and it would have been a national embarrassment if it was nullified.
“For example, section 27 of the draft constitution clearly stated that a civil servant cannot engage in any other meaningful employment unless an act of parliament allowed it. It also said if a civil servant is fired, he will be banned for life… What type of laws are those? Are we bringing laws more draconian than Jammeh’s. And the icing on the cake is, the draft says once passed, it cannot be amended” Jallow contended.