Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Halifa Sallah Asks Government to Tell Gambians Their Plans Regarding Constitutional Reform

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By Yankuba Jallow

Honourable Halifa Sallah, the member for Serrekunda has on Wednesday, 23rd September 2020 requested answers from the Vice-President, Dr. Isatou Touray on what their Government will do to achieve constitutional reform.

Page 6 of the National Development Plan states its agenda is constitutional review advancing transitional justice and strengthening legal systems and the objective is to conduct a comprehensive review of the constitution of the Gambia and formulate appropriate amendments that reflect the social and economic development, the aspiration of Gambian citizens.

“That is the agenda. I would want the Executive to tell me whether that agenda has been dumped into the high seas or it is still the agenda. And I would want to know from the Executive what route is it going to take to effect this constitutional reform to bring a new constitution into being which is fundamentally different from the 1997 Constitution. I would want that answer,” Sallah said.

At page 16 of President Adama Barrow’s address last week before the National Assembly he stated ‘At this juncture, let me reiterate my appreciation and gratitude to the CRC for submitting the Draft Constitution within the specified timeframe. The draft copy has gone through the required processes and was tabled recently by this august assembly [National Assembly] to allow for the remaining faces, finalising and adopting a new constitution.’

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Sallah said: “Am I really reading what the President has said or am I inventing because what I see here is a mind intending for us to adopt a new constitution. It appears to be the letter and spirit of the Executive.”

The President emphasized under page 54 paragraph 4, “in March 2020 the Constitutional Review Commission submitted the final draft constitution – the new Constitution Bill 2020 was gazetted and tabled before the National Assembly after the 3 months period stipulated by the law.

“Honourable Speaker, I see the President anticipating a Third Republic.”

He asked how there can be a Third Republic without a Third Republican Constitution. He also asked how there can be a Republic without a Constitution.

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