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City of Banjul
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Diaspora and the New Constitution

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As the Constitutional Review Commission is set to begin work in earnest to draft a new constitution, it is necessary that drafters be reminded of the need to include mechanisms to have the Gambians in the Diaspora participate in the governance of the country.

It is well-known that the Gambians in the diaspora played a huge role in the change that occurred here in 2016 to usher in a new dispensation. They contributed financially, morally and in many other ways to ensure that the population of the country is geared towards voting for a new government.

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One of the things that should be included in the new constitution is a provision that will allow Gambians anywhere in the world to take part in elections. Without doing that we will certainly be disenfranchising our fellow citizens for the simple reason that they are not living at home. In many parts of the world, when elections are taking place, the people who live outside the country can take part by voting.

The other important thing that should be kept in view when the constitution is drafted is to allocate a percentage of the seats in the National Assembly to people who live outside the country. In other words, Gambians in the Diaspora should have parliamentary seats so that those representing them will articulate their needs in the nation. This will also safeguard the interest of the people who for some reason are not ordinarily resident in The Gambia but are nonetheless Gambian citizens.

Finally, these Gambians should be consulted widely in this work to enrich the constitution. These people are mostly highly educated and have a wealth of experience when it comes to the running of the affairs of the nation. Their contribution will therefore be a valuable addition to the constitution.

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