By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
As the Constitutional Review commission concludes it external consultation with the Gambians abroad. The Chairman of the commission Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow on Wednesday 7th August 2019 told the journalists in a press conference held at the commissions Secretariat in Kotu that, a lot has been going on in the Commission and work continues to be both exciting and challenging.
He added that through consultative process, they have received and learned a lot from Gambian citizens and other stakeholders who accepted their invitation to collectively help in developing a new Constitution for The Gambia.
He reiterated that this engagement has taken the form of direct face-to-face public consultations with Gambians at home and abroad, dialogue with political parties and key central and local Government institutions and dialogue with civil society.
He said written contributions in response to the CRC issues documents and conducted household surveys where a total of nine thousand two hundred and sixty three (9263) eligible respondents , from the ages of 18 were sampled in different enumeration areas throughout the country.
“On the other hand, we recognize and appreciate that building a Constitution can be a really daunting task and the one we are embarked upon is not an exception” he said
He stressed that Governance institutions must be strengthened to uphold the values and the letter and spirit of the Constitution – the need to guard against abuse, and the arrogation of unchecked exercise, of power. He stated
He also emphasizes the Proper management of public finances and ensuring effective accountability in government – tackling corrupt behavior and restoring public confidence in government as an institution.
“A development process whereby local government serves as a meaningful engine for national development – the need to empower local government authorities to ensure development from bottom-up”
Justice Jallow lamented that the constitutional review process is a historic exercise. Thus, there is a sacrosanct need to ensure that the records are effectively kept and maintained for future reference.
He further reiterated that all opinions and other representations that the Commission received are considered in accordance with the guiding principles enshrined in the CRC Act 2017.
“The constitutional review process continues to be guided by the principles of Participation, Inclusiveness, Transparency and National Ownership, the end product of which will be a sound Constitution which reflects the collective values, beliefs and aspirations of Gambians”. He stated
In her closing remarks, CRC Vice-Chairperson Hawa Sisay Sabally said 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.”