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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Serrekunda lawmaker vows to reject any attempt to tamper draft constitution

By Tabora Bojang

Outspoken Serrekunda West parliamentarian, Madi Ceesay has vowed to reject any attempt that makes changes to the country’s draft constitution when brought back to the National Assembly.

Deadlock remains over contentious provisions of the draft constitution following the collapse of the much talked about Abuja constitution talks led by former Nigerian President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

It comes after a visit to Nigeria by several political leaders and party representatives who failed to reach a consensus around the draft’s retroactive application which will see President Barrow serve only one term if the draft was supported by a referendum before December.

“If the draft constitution comes back [to the National Assembly] with changes I will reject it. That is my position, I don’t know about any other person,” Madi told The Standard.

“I am in support of the [draft] constitution as it is and when it is tampered, I will not support it,” the UDP lawmaker added.

Asked if he would still maintain a similar position if his party (UDP) which reportedly supported the retroactive application agreed on any changes, Ceesay said his stance has always been remained intact prior to the Abuja talks.

“I will maintain my support for the draft as it was last year. Why would few privileged members [NAMs] decide for the rest of the country when there is an opportunity for the masses to decide? They [who rejected the draft] should allow Gambians to decide the fate of the draft at referendum,” Ceesay said.

The lawmaker charged that he could not fathom President Adama Barrow’s insistence to exclude his first mandate when he had missed the opportunity to step down after 3 years.

“If he had agreed to step down after 3 years and the constitution was drafted, he has all rights to contest and nobody will count the 3 years because that would not be part of his mandate.

Remember this is the same man who said 3 years is ok and he is not going to contest but when it was close pressure groups came out and remind him but he insisted to go by the constitutional mandate of 5 years which is correct. So he cannot turn around to say this 5 years should be excluded from his term,” he waxed.

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