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Published On: Mon, Nov 18th, 2019

Constitutional Review Commission Presents Gambians with a Draft New Constitution

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) of the Gambia on Friday presented the Gambians with a new draft constitution for scrutiny and review. The draft among others sets a two-term limit for the post of President. The draft constitution also proposes that for a person to be declared a winner in a Presidential election, he or she must get at least more than fifty percent of the votes cast by voters.

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is established by an Act of the National Assembly in June 2018. The Commission’s main functions are to review and analyze the current Constitution, draft a new constitution for the Republic of The Gambia and prepare a report in relation to the new Constitution. The Commission’s report will outline the processes engaged in reviewing and drafting the new Constitution and provide the rationale for the provisions contained in the new Constitution.

The Commission was tasked to review the current 1997 Constitution and come up with a draft new constitution that will meet the taste of time. The 1997 Constitution has suffered several amendments and therefore, an Act of the National Assembly was passed to empower the CRC to come up with a draft new constitution within eighteen months. The draft new Constitution has 20 chapters, 3 chapters less than the 1997 Constitution with 315 clauses. It has a Preamble which revises the Preamble of the 1997 Constitution to embody elements considered fundamental to the Constitution, including placing emphasis on respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms. It also places emphasis on good governance, separation of powers, sustainable environment and equitable distribution and use of resources, and equality before the law.

Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the Chairperson of CRC said the purpose of the publication was to continue the inclusive and participatory process of Gambians in the design and development of the Constitution for The Gambia. Jallow said they have been guided by the CRC Act and the opinion of the people in executing their tasks. He said in the process of coming up with a draft, the Commission embarked on a nationwide tour and an external consultation with Gambians about what they want to be included in the New Constitution including having a face – to – face dialogue with interest groups.

Awa B Bah

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