BY DAWDA BALDEH
Ousainu Darboe, Secretary General and leader of the United Democratic Party, has likened the rejection of the draft constitution last Wednesday to the 1994 military coup.
Darboe said the day will remain as the darkest day in the Gambia’s history.
“The rejection of the draft constitution by few individuals has totally disregarded public and national interest. It has taken from us (masses) the opportunity to usher in a new beginning; the New Gambia we all yearned for back in December 2016 when we took to the polls to end self-perpetuating rule,” he told journalists at a press conference.
He added: “The day will go down in Gambian history as a day of grave betrayal by a minority of people who are either ethnically compromised or motivated by narrow sentiments from defending the values of our collective salvation. We endured on progressive regime, most great sons and daughters of this country who have given up their lives during the struggles to break the shackles of autocratic rule and ensure that The Gambia and Gambians enjoy our fundamental freedoms and constitutional rights without any fear.”
There is a comment from a trained constitutional lawyer, who argued that President Barrow should explain to the Gambian people why he allowed D116 million to be spent on the draft when he knew he was going to mastermind its rejection.
“The planned rejection of the draft constitution is by all indications proving the current government’s refusal to deliver to the expectation of the Gambian people and its failure to fulfill its promise of reforms.
The Barrow administration has not just failed to lead our country through a transition to more democratic dispensation but it has equally snatched away from the citizens of this country the right to express them democratically as clearly stipulated in the 1997 constitution.
This government has failed in its duty to prioritize the interest of the citizenry and must be held accountable for their actions which led to the rejection of the constitutional reform process,” he said.
He said: “it is quite disheartening that the tireless efforts of the Commission and its members for the past three years have been made futile due to the indifference of the current administration.
It is even more disturbing that the government spend D116 million to fund a reform process they unjustifiably brought to an ill-fated end.”
“As a people and as a nation we made immense sacrifices to usher in a new dawn of national leadership in 2016. Central in the expressed wishes of the Gambian people after defeating Tranny in the historic 2016 elections was the drafting of the new constitution to replace the flawed and doctored one that anchored the horrendous dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh,” he argued.
He said the rejection of the draft has, by all indications proven the current government’s refusal to deliver to the expectations of The Gambian people and its failure to fulfill its promises of ensuring that reforms will occur in this country.
“The Barrow-administration has not just failed to lead our country through a transition to more democratic dispensation, it has equally snatched away from the citizens of this country the right to express them democratically at a referendum as dictated by the 1997 constitution,” he added.