By Mustapha Jallow
An officer of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) Ansumana Yabou, told communities that the awareness and sensitisation mission on the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), that they are engaged in, is not a campaign for any political party but the people of the Gambia.
Yabou said this in a nationwide public sensitisation to listen to the articulations and concerns of the Gambian people on the amendment and comprehensive review of the 1997 Constitution.
Speaking at Niani Sukuta in the Central River Region-North, Yabou told villagers to be apolitical as the CRC and NCCE were tasked to carry out civic education sensitisation on the CRP, which is not meant for any political party but for the making of a new and everlasting Constitution for the Gambia.
“We are here to sensitise you on the mandate of the CRC. Let us put politics out of this and fully participate or listen carefully to each other, so that you will able to make better decisions,’’ he said.
According to him, the CRC was mandated to undertake specific outreach and dialogue with Chiefs and Alkalos, to ensure that they are meaningfully brought into the process of making the Constitution with the rest of the citizenry. He asked the people various questions on citizenship and positions of leadership, but urged them to keep their answers as their contributions for the CRC delegation that will come their way soon.
Muhammed Matarr said it’s good that the officials brought such valuable information to their attention; that such meetings are not political but rather a form of consultation on how and what a Constitution is all about.
Another contributor said the new Constitution should include Arabic Schools in the free education Law that may be incorporated in the new Constitution.
The Akalo of Niani Sukuta village called on his people to be very attentive. “We should carefully listen to them and participate fully in the upcoming meeting with the CRC,’’ he said.
Similar statements about the CRC / NCCE mission was transmitted to villagers at Jarumeh-Koto. The community was told to make their views on the constitutional review process known and to make their recommendations to the authorities for consideration and possible amendment.
Adama Ceesay of Jarumeh-Koto said the importance of such a civic education sensitisation cannot be over emphasised; that it makes local communities become aware that the Laws that govern the country is made by them. He argued that all the bad laws passed the former regime, should be removed from the new Constitution; that there should be a law for Alkalos and Chiefs to go through an elections process. He also included that the age limit and death penalty should not appear in the new Constitution. He spoke about free education to be given priority..
Others speakers expressed satisfaction with the CRC / NCCE mission to make the people aware of the supreme Law of the land that governs even the president: the Constitution. They called on members of their community to give it their best shot by expressing their concerns, to move the country forward.