By Mustapha Jallow
Communities in the Central River Region on Tuesday November 5th, hailed the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), for engaging the citizenry through radio programmes, and called for its continuity. At the Janjanbureh meeting participants recommended that community radio programmes will enhance further dissemination of information to the people regarding the Constitutional review process.
Ebrima Foon, the ward Councillor of Janjanbureh said that his community members have appreciated the CRC/NCCE radio programmes in making people to be aware about the constitutional review process. He called on the officials to increase the radio programmes as most of the communities rely on radios to get information.
He asked the officials whether there are plans for more radio talk shows, and urges everyone to take part in the remake of a new Gambian Constitution.
Antta Jobateh, President of the Janjanbureh women’s group, said the question of citizenship raised by officials at the meeting, was appreciated.
“We have a lot of foreigners in the country who have not naturalized. They have children, most of whom are in good positions. So, I therefore urge the CRC to look into such issues because they and their children vote during elections,’’ she said.
She suggested that the CRC should take the matter of citizenship seriously as those whose father or mother are not naturalized, should not be allowed to vote.
The chief of Janjanbureh who spoke at length, said a nation cannot in the absence of a Constitution; that people should come forward and express their views and share ideas.
“A constitution is for the nation. I therefore call on everyone to turn out and participate fully in the process. I assure the CRC/NCCE that before the arrival of the Commissioners the information will spread to make sure that their meeting is well attended,’’ he promised.
Similar gatherings were held in Bansang and similar message sent across at the Basang meeting, which was well attended by men.
In a similar engagement in Kudang, the Alkalo of the village Sambou Ceesay, urged his fellow villagers to participate fully during the review process of the new constitution. Alkalo Ceesay made this statement during the open forum of the CRC/ NCCE meeting held in the village on the 7th November.
“To make a new constitution is not one persons’ mind. I call on every one of you, to be attentive to such an important meeting about our nation,’’ he urged. According to Alkalo Ceesay citizens must be vigilant and know what should be put in or out of the new constitution; that the sensitization would help them to deliver during their engagement with CRC commissioners.
All those who spoke at the Kudang meeting, gave similar views on citizenship, voting rights for diaspora Gambians, term limit to the presidency, Chieftaincy and Governorship positions to be elected positions etc., like other villagers.