Saturday, October 31, 2020

Foni Jarrol MP: Lawmakers who vote against draft constitution should not be branded as bad Gambians

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Honorable Alhagie Sankung Jammeh, the lawmaker for Foni Jarrol, said people who against the draft Constitution should not be branded as bad Gambians.

He added lawmakers are representing people who have different opinions and that the opinions of those people should be respected irrespective of backgrounds.

According to Jammeh, the act of drafting a new constitution is a ‘conspiracy against the 1997 constitution’.

Honorable Jammeh made the statement during the debate at the National Assembly on Monday.

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He added: “This is a conspiracy and I can assure you that it will not work.  In consultation with my electorate, whom I represent here, we went through the document and we came out that there are many irregularities and loopholes that needed to be looked into in the draft constitution”.

He added: “We cannot be fooled twice as a country, when it comes to enacting constitution.”

He said they have all sworn to defend the 1997 Constitution, adding that is the Constitution the government is relying on as its guiding tool, ‘so why the need for repeal’?

He said that amendments can be made on some of the things they think are not needed in the 1997 constitution, but the argument that millions have been spent on the draft constitution is not enough reason to vote for it ‘as it is about life and governance’.

He lamented that the weaknesses of the 1997 constitution should not be allowed to repeat in the new constitution, and thus expressed concerns over some of the provisions of the new draft constitution, such as the clause talking about the publication of the annual audited accounts of political parties, failure of which the IEC may deregister the party.

Jammeh said publishing annual audited accounts of political parties should be done at party congresses, where the party executive will explain to its supporters how the party’s money has been spent, rather than publishing it in the public space.

He said: “To us the best place of making publication of party’s annual audited accounts is at congress. This is because it is not a government wherein everybody’s money is put into, but party supporters, who contribute for the interest and welfare of their party”.

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