An objective critic of the CRC must first take note of the mandate of the Commission and then weigh what it has delivered against its mandate.
Section 6 of the Constitutional Review Commission Act states :
1‘’The Functions of the Commission are to draft a new Constitution and prepare a report in relation to the Constitution.
2.In carrying out the functions under subsection 1 the Commission shall
- a) seek public opinion and take into account such proposals as it considers appropriate;
b)review the 1997 Constitution;
c)adhere to national values and ethics;
d)safeguard and promote the following matters
i)the existence of the Gambia as a Sovereign Independent State;
ii)the Gambia Republican system of government including its democratic values and respect for and promotion of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms;
iii)the separation of powers;
iv)national unity, cohesion and peace
- v) the importance of ensuring periodic democratic elections based on universal adult suffrage, including the introduction of term limits or serving in the office of President; and
- vi) the Gambia’ continued existence as a secular state in which all faiths are treated equally and encouraged to foster national cohesion.
Has the commission fulfilled the mandate? Where has it fallen short of its mandate? Is there any provision or omission that is material enough to warrant a rejection of the draft constitution?
Each Gambian should make a sober reflection on mandate and then gauge whether the content of the draft constitution is complimentary to or at variance with the functions stipulated by the Act. Should there be provisions or omissions that fall short of mandate one must decide whether they are significant enough to warrant a rejection of the draft. This should be the epicentre of the debate. Foroyaa will be publishing a comprehensive review of the draft Constitution to assist readers to make a fair decision at a referendum.