Tuesday, October 20, 2020

HOPE IS BEING REKINDLED

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As the nation followed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and members of the Constitutional Review Commission into the chambers of the deputies to witness a landmark development of putting the final phase of the process of promulgating a new constitution into effect hope was alive, the ears of Gambians everywhere were glued to the media of their choice in order to follow the deliberations. Those who knew what was at stake became very much concerned as deputies began to express conditionalities in voting in support of promulgation.

However it was difficult to predict the ultimate outcome as opinions shifted from one deputy to the other. The balancing act gave the impression that the deputies had differences in supporting some clauses but that they were in agreement in supporting most of the clauses. Hence most anticipated that they will eventually agree in amending what they could not agree with and thus would allow the bill to go through the second round of the promulgation process.

When the voting came, the flexibility of the deputies disappeared and the possibility of a three quarters majority evaporated. Once the three quarters majority was announced by the Speaker to have been lost, all the ambience dissipated. The nation appeared to have sunk into a state of mourning. No one could tell what has led to the final state of affairs of reducing a 116 million dalasis enterprise to naught.

The nation lost its direction needing fresh thinking. Different views are now being expressed. Some politicians are blaming each other for failure and others have even gone further to make the draft constitution part of their platform for elections in 2021. Those who are conscious of what gave birth to Coalition 2016 are convinced that the country will never be the same again if it abandons the path of constitutional reform. They are therefore making all efforts to ensure that a third republic with a more progressive constitution comes into being. They are quite convinced that ignorance is what prevented most Gambians from discovering that the 1997 constitution is more progressive in content than the 1970 Constitution and that the same ignorance may prevent many from knowing that the 2020 draft Constitution is more progressive than the 1997 Constitution. They have therefore started a national debate on the way forward on constitutional reform which Foroyaa will continue to give coverage.

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