My Dream Constitutional Reform Wish List

By Saul Saidykhan

Our Attorney General who quite frankly makes me very nervous at times hasn’t said a thing about most crucial things Gambians are yearning to see change. On the contrary, the few things he has said so far, indicates someone who sees no haste in the enormous task he is charged with because in on one occasion, he all but publicly disparaged one of his colleagues for quickly taking a few of Yahya Jammeh’s fellow murderers off our streets, and in another he informed us that the much-touted Truth and Reconciliation Commission won’t be sitting until December 2017!So for all practical puposes, the social Reconciliation part in Gambia won’t even begin until sometime in Q1 2018 when people begin to come to terms with the truth about what happened to their loved ones from their victimizers’ mouth. As usual, most Gambians seem to completely miss the import of this. We are yet to hear of a package of legislation being pushed by Tambedou to deal with avoiding a repeat of the madness of the recent past. With so many “low hanging fruits”, I can’t help but wonder what’s going on. Such a scenario (of a financial nature,) is the origin of the famous 100 Days mark. Everyone I know has an idea of what they want to see change in the constitution. Tambedou needs to get the ball rolling. There will be twitches and changes based on compromise and consultations like everywhere else, but we cannot continue with this snail’s pace of his . Here is a list of my priority areas:
ALL public positions from Regional Administrators/Governors to President should be directly elected by the people they govern.

A two-five years’ term of office for ALL public offices beginning with President -to be an entrenched clause.
An incumbent President defeated at the polls must vacate office within 48 hours, but he/she and all senior officials of the outgoing administration from cabinet level MUST remain in The Gambia for 120 days to supervise the handing over to their successors and or to answer relevant questions relating to their stewardship.

A statement that no one who has held office of President for ten years at any point in their life can NEVER qualify to run again for the same office-to be an entrenched clause.

Use the Regional blocks of The Gambia (Banjul, KMC, Western Region, Lower River Region, North Bank Region, Central River Region, and Upper River Region) as a barometer analogous to the US Electoral College system. A Presidential candidate only needs four Regions to get to win the elections. (*See my basis for this recommendation in the footnote.)
A Presidential candidate must be at least 45 years of age, and must have a minimum of two years of verifiable post-high school education or training before attempting to run for office.

All public officials from Regional Administrators/Governors to President MUST fully declare their individual and immediate family assets at least a week before assuming office, and within a week after leaving office.

A Freedom of Information right for Gambians to seek and access all NON-State compromising information regarding how their national affairs are run.

All political parties must file a financial disclosure form with the IEC twice yearly to show all source of funding for their operations, and how they expend those funds.

Chiefs should be stripped COMPLETELY of administrative and judicial powers relating to land or civil disputes. After fifty-two years, it’s time we render this abused and defiled system ceremonial before it destroys our country completely.

Any attempt to change an entrenched clause must be funded privately by the person initiating the action from a verifiably CLEAN source. And 67% of REGISTERED voters must vote and agree with the change!

Designate a Magnate town or towns in each Region of the country beside Banjul as Capital: Kanifing or Brusibi for KMC, Brikama and Bwiam for Western Region Mansakonko and Soma for Lower River Region, Farafenni or Kerewan for North Bank Region, Bansang for Central River Region, and Basse, Gambisara or Sabi for Upper River Region. (Based on population figures, government policies should deliberately promote these regional towns to become fully self-sustaining entities that can educate and create decent job opportunities for the indigents of the area. This will not only help in checking the dangerous Back Way phenomenon we’re yet to emerge from, it will help in stemming the alarming internal rural-urban migration we’ve seen in the past generation caused by the concentration of public resources in the relatively small urban area of the country to the detriment of the generality of the country. I shall focus on the Economics of how we can flip this around IN THEORY. (Practice assumes people will follow one’s advice.)
Anyone convicted of any crime anywhere in the world that would be a crime in The Gambia cannot run for public office.

*given how Jammeh was able to manipulate the electoral system for so long without most Gambians being the wiser, it is my belief that if we introduce a system that forces all presidential candidates to have the explicit endorsement of the majority of the people of four out of seven regions of the country, they won’t take the people of any region for granted. Plus, this system will automatically correct the issue of the type of mindless cheating we saw in the Jammeh era. You can cheat all you want in a couple of areas, but unless you get 4/7, you can’t win the presidency.

I’m sure our legal luminaries have better ways of framing these and other ideas many have…

Culled from Saul’s blog


One Comment

  1. Fanding Kinteh Darboe

    In the magnate towns in region, please add Janjanbureh and Kuntaur for CRR administrative region.

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