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City of Banjul
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Protecting the draft constitution

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Since the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) completed and presented the Draft Constitution to President Adama Barrow and its subsequent gazzetting, a lot of issues have come out both from the public and government.

It will appear that there are some things in the Constitution about which there is no unanimity. In fact, the cabinet has raised a number of concerns about the draft. The latest of these concerns is where the cabinet expressed a desire for there to be a clause empowering the president to dissolve parliament.

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Considering the consultations that took place during the drafting of this constitution and considering where the nation is emerging from, it will be a cause for concern if cabinet is making such comments about the draft. Empowering the president to dissolve parliament is tantamount to returning to the dictatorship that citizens fought so hard to defenestrate.

Since coming into being, the Gambia has never had an exercise which sought as wide opinion as this constitution. Almost every section of society; from cabinet to parliament, civil society to religious organisations and ordinary citizens were consulted.

It is not therefore far-fetched to say that this draft represents the opinions of the Gambian people. It is the combined thoughts and views of Gambians – home and abroad – that have been presented in this draft constitution. This is undisputable.

It will indeed be unacceptable if anyone, no matter their position, seeks to change the draft of the people prior to its going to a referrandum.

Democracy is about the will of the people and the people have spoken clearly in this draft. Therefore all those seeking to change things should know that the people will not accept it.

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