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Sait Matty says Gambians must unite to resurrect constitution

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By Omar Bah

Human rights activist, Sait Matty Jaw, has urged Gambians to put their differences aside and support the process of resurrecting the draft constitution.

International Idea has started the process of engaging stakeholders to resurrect the constitution which was rejected by the National Assembly at its promulgation stage.

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In a write-up shared with The Standard, Mr Jaw said a new constitution serves as a beacon of hope in ending the era of leaders clinging on to power.

“By implementing term limits and curbing executive powers, we pave the way for new leadership and institutions to emerge and lead us into a future of progress,” he said.

He added that a successful transition to a new constitution reinforces The Gambia’s commitment to democratic values, bolstering its international reputation and encouraging partnerships that support its development.

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“At a time when the rest of West Africa is experiencing coups and counter coups threatening the sub-region, The Gambia can be a responsible member of the West African community leading the way in entrenching the shared values,” he said.

Jaw said a new constitution is the antidote to regression as it will safeguard against the resurgence of dictatorship by installing checks and balances that prevent the consolidation of power and self-perpetuating rule.

“We have already embarked on it with the TRRC and other mechanisms. It’s an opportunity now to consolidate the gains made over the period,” he said.

He said Gambians always had a unique perspective in building the state, despite interruption by former President Yahya Jammeh.

“Our strength lies in a credible electoral system that provides opportunities for all. Hence, unlike other African countries that implemented one-party dictatorship following independence, Gambia promoted multi-party democracy to the best of its ability as a tool for promoting social cohesion and nation building. Albeit the challenges and imperfection, Gambians have historically accepted that the best way to choose a leader is through election and there are citizens that have participated in election since the 1960s.

“As we embark on this renewed constitutional debate, it is crucial to acknowledge our shared goal: a new constitution that consolidates the democratic strides made since the end of the Jammeh era. President Adama Barrow’s administration promised a constitution, recognizing the need to break free from the grip of what many aptly called ‘Jammeh’s constitution’. This underscores the fact that a constitution should serve the people, not the interests of a few,” he added.

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