By Ousainou J Sawaneh Ojee
Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow has revealed that the new draft constitution has prohibited president from establishing, or advocating for, participating in or promoting the establishment, or in any other way engaging in the establishment, directly or indirectly, of any organisation or institution of a civic, charitable or other nature;
Jallow was speaking in a press conference on Friday 15th November, 2019 held in the commissions Secretariat in Koto
Justice Jallow said the Executive is provided for new provisions in the new draft constitution, adding that Election to the Office of President is to be held three weeks before the end of the term of the incumbent President, and the winner of the election to the Office of President assumes office on the day after the date of expiry of the incumbent President’s term of office.
He said all candidates for election to the Office of President and National Assembly Member are required to declare their assets to the Anti-Corruption Commission at least twenty-one days before the election;
He also reiterated that the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission is required, as soon as possible, but in any case not beyond seventy-two hours, after the polls are closed to declare the result of the Presidential election and the winner thereof;
Jallow also spoke on the required qualifications for election to the Office of President, he said a candidate must hold a minimum of an undergraduate degree plus five years’ work experience after the date of attaining that degree, adding that or hold a minimum of a senior secondary school certificate or its equivalent plus twelve years’ work experience after the date of attaining that certificate;
“A candidate for election to the Office of President is elected if the candidate has received more than half of all the votes validly cast in the election (that is the absolute majority or 50% + 1 vote); and the President cannot hold office for more than two terms of five years each, whether or not the terms are consecutive;”. Jallow said
He explained that the President is to declare his or her assets within three months of assuming office and must similarly declare those of his or her spouse; adding that the same process is repeated within three months of demitting office in respect of the assets acquired since assuming the Presidency. “The Vice President and Cabinet Ministers will be bound by the same requirements”; he said.
Justice Jallow further added that considering the importance of the Office of President and as a way of ensuring dignity to the Office and office holder after demitting office, benefits are outlined for the President when he or she demits office;;
He said the number of Cabinet Ministers a President can appoint is capped at fifteen, excluding the Attorney General and Minister of Justice; he said offices of Cabinet Secretary, Chief of Staff to the President and Solicitor General and Legal Secretary are established;
Speaking on further Jallow said the National Assembly is constitutionally established and the following new provisions are made: he added that only elected members shall constitute the National Assembly; and 53 elected from single member constituencies; “14 elected women, two from each Administrative Area; and 2 persons, elected by persons with disabilities from amongst the members of the federation representing such persons”; he said
(c) The method for initiating a recall of an elected member of the National Assembly is provided for;
Considering the increased size of the National Assembly, Jallow added that provision is made to enable the Assembly to elect two Deputy Speakers;
“The positions of Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the National Assembly are established; and the business of the National Assembly is to be conducted in the English language or in any other language indigenous to The Gambia, and the Assembly is required to encourage and facilitate the progressive realisation of the use of languages indigenous to The Gambia in the conduct of the business of the Assembly within five years of the coming into force of the draft Constitution”; he said