‘Gambia’s Democratic Process Is Not A Lip Service’

By Abdoulie John

As the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is on the verge of starting the drafting of The Gambia’s Constitution, the commission’s Chairman on Wednesday emphasised the importance of the institutional and constitutional reforms.Justice Sulayman Jallow said the process is not a simple formality.

“The Constitution is about something that is real, something that needs to be given life,” Justice Jallow told reporters during a press conference held at the CRC headquarter in Kotu.

Over these past months, the constitutional review panel has embarked on massive consultations with Gambians at home and abroad to get their input on matters related to the Constitution. The commission is mandated to deliver its work within a period of 18 months.

The CRC Chairman urged Gambians to put their personal interests aside, for this could derail the entire process. “This process is not about me. It is about us and the future generations,” he added, disclosing during public consultations Gambians have okayed the need to have strong institutions.

Justice Jallow said even the country’s lawmakers have recognized that we are dealing with a Constitution that is designed to make things better for The Gambia.

However, he urged those part of decision making bodies to perform their duty to get things done.

The more than two-decade long dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh has plagued the tiny West African nation with gross human rights violations. It is against this background that the new government wants to right the wrongs of the past by initiating reforms geared towards putting the country on the right path.

CRC To Get Into High Gear

In her closing remarks, CRC Vice-Chairperson Hawa Sisay-Sabally reechoed the concerns raised by many Gambians about the ability of the CRC to meet the deadline for submission of the first draft.

“Everybody is impatient now. Everybody wants the Constitution to be ready. We are not going to be pardoned if we extend our time,” she said. “We are not going to ask for an extension.” Consequently, she disclosed that CRC members are working every day in the week including Sundays in order to wrap up on time.


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