Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Will a third republic be born before 2021?

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A republic must have an architectural sketch plan that provides the blueprint to erect the foundation of the republic. The sketch plan is the constitution. It provides the basis to build the institutions of a republic.

The first state that Gambians could claim to be their own had its sketch plan; that is, the 1965 Constitution. The second sketch plan was the 1970 Constitution which provided the basis to build the first republic. The first republic was overthrown and its constitution suspended. The people approved a sketch plan in August 1996. This gave birth to the Constitution of the second republic which came into force on 16th January 1997. On the 2nd December 2016, there was a change of government. A consensus was reached for a sketch plan to usher a third republic. A draft constitution has been handed over to the president on 30th March 2020.

The executive has power to bring a Bill to the National Assembly with respect to the alteration of the 1997 Constitution after fulfilling the requirements of section 226 subsection (4). Hence the submission of the draft Constitution and report by the CRC is the beginning of the end of preparing the architectural sketch of the founding of a third republic. All eyes are now on the executive with the expectation that it will fulfil its mandate.

The CRC is expected to publish the draft Constitution in the Gazette. What would have been the best case scenario is for the Attorney General to prepare a constitution alteration bill for publication in the Gazette so as to ensure a smooth process of submission of the bill to the National Assembly as dictated by section 226(4) of the 1997 Constitution.

Foroyaa will be monitoring developments to assist the readers to fully prepare themselves for the referendum. They should not be distracted by any speculation.

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