By Nelson Manneh
The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), yesterday December 17th 2018, started the third leg of their nationwide consultation of the people on the review process of the 1997 Constitution, in Foni Bondali and Sintet villages in Foni Jarol.
The CRC is mandated to review the 1997 Constitution and to come up with a new one that will be endorsed by the people in a referendum. The CRC is on tour of the whole nation in order to involve citizens on their contributions and ideas of the proposed new Constitution.
Responding to questions raised by Commissioners during their deliberations, Araba Bojang a native of Bondali Village, said citizenship is very important for any nation; that it is good for people to be consulted before Laws are made on their behalf.
“To be born in a country does not qualify one to become a citizen of a country. You must go through the necessary process before becoming a citizen,” he said.
He said seven years of marriage is small for one to become a citizen in the Gambia. He suggested for the proposed new Constitution to make provision for this to be increased to ten years. “Fifteen years of naturalization is small and it should be increased to twenty years,” he told Commissioners.
Bojang said it is true that some people migrate from their countries of origin to the Gambia and want to stay forever; but that others may return to their homes and this should be put into consideration.
Alagie Modou Cham of Bwiam said Alkalos should neither be elected nor appointed by anybody, but ascend to the throne through tribal lines. “Chiefs should be elected. Governors should not be elected but appointed by the president,’’ he said. He added that the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), should be elected by the people because he or she is the person responsible for elections.
On the participation of prisoners and diaspora Gambians in all elections, Bojang said they should vote.
Musu Keba Bah, contributed that age is very important when it comes to governing a country; that to be a president, one should reach the age of thirty and should reside in the country for more than five years. “A stranger cannot rule a nation. One should be in the country before contesting for the presidency,” she said.
She said she is in for a term limit of two and that the president should not be a grade twelve but a College or University graduate for that matter.
The CRC engaged the people of Foni Bondali in different ways, some through interviews, and some through face to face discussions.
Meetings continue in Foni and Kombo East for the rest of the third leg.