Monday, July 13, 2020

Should The 1997 Constitution Be Revoked Or Amended? The Bar Should Join The Debate

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Question of the Day

During the National Assembly debate on the Constitutional Review Commission Bill, Halifa Sallah among other National Assembly members emphasised that there is no provision under section 226 of the Constitution providing for the revoking of the 1997 Constitution. He added that section 226 only provides for amendment of the Constitution either by the National Assembly regarding provisions that are not entrenched or through referendum regarding entrenched provisions. Hence to him the review exercise should have two aspects which should go on concurrently.

There should be a review of the provisions which are not entrenched and a Bill submitted to the National Assembly to be passed and the submission of a Bill containing the revised entrenched provisions for adoption at a referendum should also be submitted to be approved by the National Assembly and forwarded to the IEC for a referendum. This is the procedure that is provided for under section 226 of the 1997 Constitution.

On the other hand, the movers of the Bill provided for clauses which anticipated the revoking of the 1997 Constitution and invoking of a new draft Constitution. The clauses which provided for this were rejected by the National Assembly and expunged from the Bill as unconstitutional clauses.

The Bar Association should review these clauses that are rejected and the debate that ensued and help the Nation to have clarity on this matter.  

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