CRC to finalize Draft Constitution in March

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) hopes to finalise its assignment on drafting Gambia’s new constitution and the accompanying report by March, Chairman Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow said on Monday.

During a press conference at the Commission’s Futurelec building in Kotu, Justice Jallow said they are working hard to ensure that they meet their target date for the final draft and subsequent submission to the president.

The CRC is established by an Act of the parliament in June, 2018, to review and analyze the current Gambia Constitution, draft a new Constitution and prepare a report in relation to the new Constitution. The report will outline the processes engaged in reviewing and drafting the new Constitution and provide the rationale for the provisions contained in the new Constitution.

Justice Jallow praised Gambians for their overwhelming support and encouragement to the Commission throughout the drafting process, saying as in every constitutional development in any country, the final product will never satisfy every view and opinion canvassed.

He said constitutional development is effectively a negotiation process of give and take and it can never address all issues.

“In our case here in The Gambia, we have put in place a very robust transparent, inclusive and participatory public consultation process whereby every citizen and stakeholder had the opportunity to make contribution,” he said.

Since the publication of the first draft in November last year, the new constitution came under divergent views, mainly on religious line with the Christian denominations calling for the inclusion of the word ‘secular’ while the Muslims denied it.

Justice Jallow said they have embarked on two rounds of countrywide public consultations to share and inform the public on the provisions in the draft constitution, hear the citizens’ perception on the proposed provisions and recommendation proffered by citizens.

“The second round of public consultative meetings were held in thirteen communities. In all these communities, the CRC ensured that adequate advance copies of the draft constitution is provided to Local Government Authorities and school administrators in order to facilitate public access and to allow Gambians to familiarise themselves with the proposed provisions and subsequently provide feedback to the commission.”

He added that the Commission have also undertaken series of consultations, informing the public about the provisions in the draft constitution and soliciting feedback that would help it to prepare a final draft for The Gambia.

Story written by Binta Badjie

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