EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- UN has on Friday urged all political parties in The Gambia to show flexibility and understanding to reach a consensus that will allow the embattled draft constitution to be adopted in time.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the Gambian leader, the head of UN office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the UN support the mediation initiative led by the former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are happy that the ECOWAS also threw their full weight behind it,” he said, adding, “We are all following the consultations being undertaken with all political parties and leaders and actors.”
“This year is an election year. So naturally everybody is focusing on the preparation that are been made to ensure that at the end of the year (4th December), we will have credible, transparent elections.”
He said they have visited the IEC and are satisfied with the preparations that are been made.
The UN’s top African diplomat said they were also in parliament to find out about the constitutional review process and how parliament will ensure they work in a timely manner.
According to Chambas, he is in the country to show solidarity and strong support of the United Nations to the Gambia and its people in these times of multiple challenges.
Leaders of 15 political parties arrived in Banjul on Thursday following a 3-day dialogue in Abuja with Goodluck Jonathan, who is the chief negotiator in finding a common ground amongst the political parties.
The Abuja convergence failed to make a breakthrough in finding a consensus and NPP accused UDP causing the stalemate.
“In relation to the retroactive clause in the constitution, all the parties that were in the negotiations agreed and accepted that it should be expunge from the draft except the UDP,” Mambanjick Njie, Administrative Secretary of NPP told reporters upon arrival at the Banjul International Airport.
UDP however maintains its position that the right to change the constitution belongs to the people and therefore the draft should be return to the parliament unaltered.
“This is the people’s constitution and it is only the people who have the right to make any changes to it,” UDP leader, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe said in a tweet on Thursday.
The so-called retroactive clause in the draft constitution would have condemned President Adama Barrow to just another new five-year term in office. Barrow’s camp believe that the term he is serving shouldn’t count and therefore the clause should be omitted.
Other political parties, including GDC and CA, said they will be willing to accept compromise on the retroactive clause provided that other key components remains intact if the bill is passed.