Saturday, September 18, 2021
Home Editorial When Government does a good homework The Draft can pass

When Government does a good homework The Draft can pass

The Gambian tax payers have put in over 127 million dalasi into writing a new constitution to usher the country into the third republics ; Yes, September of last tear the National Assembly of the Gambia threw these colossal amount into the dustbin as other members called it. Very unfortunate action of our representatives, how can only a small number of people (58) decide for over a million people, where there exist an opportunity for the greater number to participate?
The negotiations that are ongoing may not yield the desired results, because the approach or approaches have missed the point. The engagement of stakeholders, somehow excluding the members of the National Assembly is a missing link and a very important link. It would have been proper and maybe very useful to have engaged all sides of the Assembly for a consensus.
Whatever agreement that would have been reached at different levels of the negotiations will have to get the blessing of the members of the National Assembly and not any number but 42 members no less, otherwise it will see another red card. Yes the man championing this crusade is the former Nigerian President Good Luck Jonathan; while he was here on two occasions no such consultations took place.
There seems to be a deadlock in the negotiations that took place both home and abroad in bring the Draft back to the law makers;As the leaders of the various political parties that went to the Nigerian talk could not have a consensus on some very key clauses.
Time is of great essence here; the presidential elections is just around the corner, it is either we go to the polls with a new Constitution which is not likely to happen or we go to the polls with the old Constitution. Going to the polls with the old Constitution (1997) one, is no harm, and there should not be any further waste of resources.
A way forward in this deadlock is for the members of the National Assembly to allow the Gambian people to decide for themselves as to whether they want the Draft or the old one to govern them. It will be very unfair for only 58 members of the National Assembly decide when the provision of the whole county to participate is there.
The most contentious clause here is effective dates of the two terms presidential term limit. The Draft is saying the first five years of Adama Barrow be part of his term. But had Adama Barrow stick to the initial three year agreement , then he could have contest if he wish so and if able to win two elections then he would have serve 13 years as president.
Since the President settled for his constitutional mandate of five years as oppose to the agreed three years which is correst, then he should forgo the first five years and accept to what the Draft is suggesting. One cannot eat his /her cake and have it at the same time.

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