Citizens Divided Over Presidential Qualifications, Term Limits and Death Penalty

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By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in their effort to have a wider consultation with the aimed of seeking the opinion of Gambians in the development of a new constitution; recently engaged the people of Basse and surrounding villages in the Upper River Region.
The public consultation is one of the ways in which the CRC is fostering participation, inclusiveness, representation, transparency and national ownership of the new constitution.
Commissioner Gaye Sowe asked the public what they think should be included in the new constitution, the types of government they want whether presidential or parliamentary system, educational requirement for the president as well as the term limit.
Salimatou Touray another Commissioner spoke on fundamental human right. She ask if the new constitution should maintain or abolished the death penalty and whether the new constitution should guarantee the right to free education, free health care and a clean environment.
Responding to the questions Mamadi Krumang said the new constitution should allow parliamentary system of government adding for an aspiring president he/she should have a degree or at least a diploma as an educational requirement.
A presidential aspirant must be a Gambian and should not have a dual citizenship, and he or she must be 40 years. He said there should not be age and term limit.
Karankey Keita argue that the parliamentary system of government should not be allowed in the new constitution, he said one person cannot hold two positions in the government.
Abdoulie Baldeh principal Bakadagi Senior Secondary School said the death penalty should be put in the new constitution, saying that anyone who killed a person deliberately should also be killed.
He emphasized that free education should only stop at the senior school level adding the Universities and Colleges should be paid and there are scholarships for competent students.
Ayouba Jawara councilor Sabie Ward rated that there should be right to free education and a free health care should be guarantee and that the death penalty should be included in the new constitution while saying the provisions on the district tribunals should remain the same.

The Alkalo of Basse and former National Assembly Member Mr. Momodou Salieu Bah spoke on the budget estimated period saying that 14 days is inadequate for parliamentarians to scrutinize the national budget ” the parliamentarians should be given 3 months to scrutinize the national budget” while saying that budget making process should be participatory.

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